Hakkul, of Lara village in Basti district, dumped the snakes, including cobras, at the land revenue office in Harraiya town, Uttar

Pradesh, causing utter panic among officials and villagers.

Some fled, while others clambered up on top of tables to stay out of harm’s way.

No-one has been bitten or injured but the snakes are yet to be caught.

Hakkul, a deft handler of snakes, is usually deployed to capture the asps that have found their way into the village.

He has saved many lives over the years, local journalist Mazhar Azad said.

However, local authorities have been apparently dragging their heels over granting him a plot of land to “conserve” his snakes.

Azad said Mr Hakkul had even petitioned the president.

On Tuesday, Hakkul went to the Tehsil [revenue] office with a group of supporters and emptied out his bags containing venomous snakes.

“Snakes were climbing up the tables and chairs. The office was full, there were nearly 100 officials and clerks and many more visitors,” Azad said.

“There was total chaos for several hours. Some people started taking photos with their telephone cameras, others brought out sheets to try to cover the snakes. Some came with sticks and wanted to beat up Hakkul.”

Hakkul and his men have apparently gone into hiding following the incident.

So have the snakes – somewhere in the building.

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