A snake charmer in India released 40 poisonous snakes, including a number of cobras, onto the floor of a Government Land Registry Office to protest the delay of a new land permit.
The UK Guardian reports that the man, reportedly named Hakkul, also accused bureaucrats in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh of demanding bribes for his land application:
"I am a conservationist and have been seeking the government's help. Having waited patiently for so long, I had no option but to leave all my snakes in this office," Hakkul told the Telegraph. He said he received promise of a land permit two years ago so that he would have a place for his snakes to live.
Despite their world-famous reputations, snake charmers are actually illegal in India, which is why the government says it has continued to delay Hakkul's request. In fact, the Indian government recently began implanting some snakes with tracking devices in order to protect them from what critics say is a cruel and inhumane practice.
"He had applied for a plot of land to keep his snakes," Subhash Mani Tripathi, the head of land-revenue administration, told the AFP. "But there is no provision for such a business. Instead of seeking a written reply, which we would have issued, Hakkul created panic by letting loose a bunch of snakes all over the office."
No one was hurt after Hakkul released the snakes, which were eventually captured by forestry department officials.
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