4 snake charmers, upset over earnings after performance, release snakes in train
For 30 minutes, there was chaos in the unreserved compartment of the Chambal Express as passengers scrambled to get onto the upper berths to get away from the snakes
KANPUR: Four snake charmers, disappointed with their earnings after a performance on board the Chambal Express in Uttar Pradesh, released the reptiles in the compartment to scare a group of passengers after a heated exchange late on Saturday evening.
For the next 30 minutes, there was chaos in the unreserved compartment as passengers scrambled to get onto the upper berths. Some also hid in the washroom till the nightmare ended, said a passenger Dheeraj Kumar.
Kumar, who lives in Malakpura village of Mahoba district, said the snake charmers boarded the train, which operates between Howrah and Gwalior, at Banda station and got off at the next stop 60 minutes later, Mahoba. The performance started soon after as they flipped the lid of a basket and a snake emerged, swaying as they played their gourd flute.
Once the performance ended, they asked the passengers for money.
“Some people gave the money, some declined,” recalled Kumar. It is not clear how but the snake charmers got into an argument with some persons who had refused to pay. At one point, they suddenly released the snakes in the compartment,” he said, giving people a scare of their life.
Somebody called the railway control room.
Akhilesh Pratap Singh, the officer in-charge of the Government Railway Police at Mahoba station, said they received information about snakes being released from the railway control room.
The snake charmers eventually caught the snakes they had released and got off the train moments before it entered the Mahoba station, the train’s next stop after Banda.
Singh said: “We spoke to the passengers at Mahoba railway station and they confirmed the incident. The snakes did not bite any passenger but did cause significant distress,” he said.
Security personnel did conduct a comprehensive search of the compartment - and the adjoining ones to be sure - but the snake charmers hadn’t left any behind.
Singh said the train, which was headed for Gwalior, was allowed to continue its journey.
The snake charmers will be identified soon, he said.