Launching a massive drive on the occasion of Nag Panchami, forest department officials on Sunday rescued as many as 462 snakes from 150 charmers from various localities of the city.
The snakes were later set free in Choral forest.
“Though there was protest initially during every seizure, the charmers let go the serpents when they came to know about the consequences of their actions,” said divisional forest officer (DFO) Saeed Khan, adding that the public exhibition of snakes for collecting money was banned under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
“Many of them escaped from the site leaving their baskets behind,” the DFO said.
Some NGOs, including People for Animals, had launched a campaign among the children, asking them to take a pledge from refraining from entertaining snake charmers and not allowing their parents to do so.
The NGOs, with the assistance of the police, had launched campaigns separately and claimed to have seized the animals from various localities, including MG Road, Chappan Dukan, old and new Palasia, Geeta Bhawan, Sudama Nagar, Annapurna and among others.
Experts claim that the charmers capture the creatures around two months ahead of the Nag Panchami festival, mercilessly break their teeth and remove the venom sack.
The snakes are kept starving for several days before being exhibited on the festival, so that it might consume anything offered by the people.
The number of snakes has fallen drastically in the last five years from 20,000 to 4,000, they added.
Despite the action against snake charmers, several of them were found moving across the streets, exhibiting the creatures at locations like Rajwada and its nearby areas.
The action against snake charmers had also invited criticism from various quarters, including some Hindu organisations, who dubbed it as an attack on religious sentiments.
A group, claiming to be workers of Hindu Mahasabha, publicly exhibited snakes and asked people to perform religious rituals and make offerings including milk, to the snakes at the Rajwada.