Tamil Nadu priest arrested for using cobras, elephant for puja
The arrest was made after a video clip of the priest chanting shlokas and offering flower petals to cobras in the presence of a snake charmer went viral in social media.india Updated: May 17, 2018 19:21 IST
A priest, who used cobras for a special puja on the 80th birthday of his father, was arrested for violation of wildlife laws, a forest official said on Thursday.
Sundaresan, the 45-year old priest, also brought in an elephant unauthorisedly for prayers seeking longevity for his father.
The arrest was made after a video clip of the priest chanting shlokas and offering flower petals to cobras in the presence of a snake charmer went viral in social media.
“Using cobras for any purpose, be it ritual or otherwise is in violation of the Wild Life Protection Act,” a top district forest official told PTI.
Asked if the reptiles were harmed or harassed, he said using cobras for puja amounted to harassing and teasing them.
“A permit and authorisation is mandatory to move an elephant from one place to another, and in this case permission was not taken,” he said.
The forest official said the cobras were procured by the priest through “brokers”.
The priest, he said, confessed to have committed the offences.
He was arrested and produced before a court which remanded him in judicial custody yesterday, he said.
Quoting the priest, the official said a man named Palani brought the cobras. All those involved in bringing the reptiles and the elephant will be arrested and we are on the lookout for them, he said.
The priest is lodged in the Central Prison here, the official said.