New Delhi: As Hindus gear up to celebrate the Nag Panchami festival Thursday, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Tuesday urged them to discourage atrocities against the reptile and report snake charmers to authorities.
“Nag Panchami, held in honour of the serpent god, Naag Devta, instead of paying tribute to them, becomes a mockery. It is a torture for these fascinating reptiles,” PETA India chief functionary Poorva Joshipura said.
Nag Panchami is celebrated on the fifth day of the moonlit-fortnight in the month of Shravan every year, according to the Hindu calendar. PETA said captured snakes are often kept in suffocating bags or tiny boxes, starved and and their fangs violently yanked out, or their mouths painfully sewn shut. The snake’s venom duct is often pierced with a hot needle, causing the animal’s glands to burst.
Some snakes have their eyes damaged when ‘tikka’ (vermillion) applied to their hoods during puja trickles into them. The organisation said many think snakes consume the milk offered to them. Milk is not part of their natural diet, and it causes them to become severely dehydrated, have allergic reactions and dysentery. Most die as a result.
“We are enlisting the public to show their compassion for these tormented animals by being snake guardians and reporting snake collectors and snake charmers to authorities,” Joshipura said.
The snake charmers bring these snakes near temples and try to exhibit or sell them – both of which are illegal according to the Wildlife Protection Act. Citizens can report snake charmers at 9810054077, a PETA number, as well as to the local police. They can also file a complaint under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 as well as the 1960 Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.