On the last Monday of Shravan, 34 snakes were seized outside the Shiva temples in Agra. "Devotees who throng Shiva temples usually pay some money for 'darshan' of deadly snakes in possession of snake charmers, as Lord Shiva is always shown with snakes," said Ram Dayal, a devotee, outside Mankameshwar temple.
"Lured by the mystical appeal of snake charmers, naive people often get duped into giving them large sums in exchange for blessings and good luck," said an official.
The nine-member team seized 34 snakes from snake charmers squatting outside Khandari, Balkeshwar, Mankameshwar, Rajeshwar, Prithivinath and Rawli temples.
With temperatures touching 33 degree Centigrade on Monday, snakes had suffered severe dehydration and exhaustion. In all, 30 cobras and four other snakes were recovered. They were being kept under temporary observation at the Wildlife SOS rescue facility, said the official.
Baiju Raj M.V, Director Conservation Projects, Wildlife SOS, said, "Some snake charmers had the reptiles wrapped around necks, while others were keeping them in baskets, to attract the public attention. We intercepted them and also asked people to say no to such practices."
Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder & CEO of Wildlife SOS, said, "Over four consecutive Mondays, we seized 111 snakes. Cases like this confirm that snake poaching under the guise of snake charming is rampant across the country."
Manish Mittal, DFO Agra, urged people not to encourage such practices "as it promotes animal cruelty and wildlife poaching".
Snake charming is illegal and a punishable offence under laws.
( With inputs from IANS )