Indian man releases snakes in tax office
Lucknow - An Indian snake-charmer released dozens of snakes in a government tax office to protest against officials who had not responded to his complaints about an application for land.
Local bureaucrats leapt onto their desks or ran out of the building in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh when Hakkul, who uses only one name, let his snakes - including some poisonous cobras - out of three bags on Tuesday.
"He had applied for a plot of land to keep his snakes," Subhash Mani Tripathi, the head of land revenue administration, told AFP by telephone from the town of Harraiya.
"But there is no provision for such a business. Instead of seeking a written reply, which we would have issued, Hakkul created panic by letting loose a bunch of snakes all over the office."
Workers stood on chairs and shook table clothes at the hissing reptiles to keep them away as excited crowds gathered outside.
Hakkul later told reporters that a district magistrate had promised him a plot of land for his snakes two years ago.
"I am a conservationist and have been seeking the government's help. Having waited patiently for so long, I had no option but to leave all my snakes in this office."
No one was injured in the incident, but police said they were still working to collect the snakes.