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Snakes in songs irk activists

The music video, Nag Devta, has invited the wrath of animal rights activists in Orissa. The album features snakes in its songs.

india Updated: Feb 16, 2006 17:11 IST

A music video called Nag Devta that features snakes in its songs has invited the wrath of animal rights activists who say the reptiles have been filmed illegally.

World Music, a company based in Cuttack city, 26 km from here, released the album last month. "It shows snakes and snake charmers in all its 10 songs," Jiban Ballav Das, secretary of People For Animals, Orissa chapter said.

The use of snakes for commercial purposes is illegal under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. Anybody wanting to use them has to take permission from the state's wildlife authority, he said.

Generally permission is granted with the stipulation of engaging the services of a veterinary surgeon who examines the health of the reptiles. Besides, at least one representative of the local wildlife society has to examine whether any cruelty has been caused to the animal during the shooting.

"The VCD violates every norm," Das alleged. "We have lodged complaints with the state wildlife chief and asked him to take action against the producer as well as ban the VCD," he said.

Jayaprakash Mohanty, the producer of the VCD, admitted he did not apply for permission. "I am not aware of any ban," he said.

He said hundreds of snake charmers were exhibiting snakes publicly for entertainment and earning money. The government had not taken any action to stop them.

"Why then should I be subjected to action for using snakes in my VCD?" Mohanty asked. He said the VCD associated snakes with Lord Shiva. "It would rather generate love and respect for snakes."

But wildlife activists are far from convinced.

"Wildlife officials must take action against the producer because it is illegal," said Biswajit Mohanty, secretary of the Wildlife Society of Orissa.

First Published: Feb 16, 2006 14:52 IST