A woman was bitten by a snake but she promptly kept the reptile in a jar to save it from being killed, believing that its death would bring bad luck to her and her family.
And she kept the jar close to her during her treatment at the Saraikela-Kharsawan district hospital in Jharkhand.
Suruikui Bodra, 35, was bitten by a suspected banded krait (black with white bands) on Saturday when she was collecting water from a hand pump at Barabamboo village in Saraikela-Kharsawan district.
“I managed to catch the snake and put it in a plastic jar, otherwise the women with me would have killed it,” said Bodra.
“Biting is a snake’s natural instinct. Killing a living creature that can’t speak will bring ill fate to me and my children. Even a snake has the right to live,” she said.
Dr R Prasad, who treated Bodra, said, “The woman just wouldn’t let go of the jar. The snake stayed all along with her.”
Bodra insisted that the snake remain with her till she was released from the hospital. “She said she would release the snake safely,” Prasad said.
Bodra was given anti-venom injections at the district hospital but she was mainly treated for bleeding after villagers cut a leg vein believing that the poison would drain out.
“I don’t understand this concept of cutting open the vein. Bleeding could have killed her if not the poison,” Prasad said on Sunday.
Ranchi Zoo director Ajay Kumar said the features of the snake indicated that it was a banded krait. “It is found in Jharkhand. It is highly poisonous and its venom is neurotoxic (harmful to the nervous system).”
Tribals in East Singhbhum, West Singhbhum and Saraikela-Kharsawan districts take certain herbs and roots for snakebite cure and worship the Mansa Devi, a Hindu folk goddess of snakes, every year.
“There are anti-venom medicinal plants called Eklavya,” said Jatin Shankar Das, a priest in Jamshedpur.
More than 600 snakebites are reported every year in Jharkhand and around 300 cases were registered at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences in 2014, said health officials.