An angry snakecharmer in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has let loose dozens of snakes in a government office, sparking chaos and panic.
Hakkul, of Lara village in Basti district, dumped the snakes, including a number of cobras, at the land revenue office in Harraiya town on Tuesday.
Many of the frightened villagers and officials ran out of the office, while others climbed on top of tables.
No-one was bitten or injured but the snakes are yet to be caught.
Plot of land
Mr Hakkul is usually called in whenever a snake is spotted in the area and he has saved many lives over the years, local journalist Mazhar Azad told the BBC.
Mr Hakkul has petitioned various government offices over the years demanding a plot of land where he can “conserve” his snakes.
Mr Azad said Mr Hakkul had even petitioned the president.
Some of the snakes are still in the building
Mr Hakkul says his request has been cleared by senior authorities, but the local officials keep delaying it.
On Tuesday, Mr Hakkul went to the Tehsil [revenue] office with a group of supporters and emptied out his bags containing poisonous snakes.
“Snakes were climbing up the tables and chairs. The office was full, there were nearly 100 officials and clerks and many more visitors,” Mr 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.”
Mr Azad said Mr Hakkul and his men escaped in the confusion and are yet to be caught.
So are the snakes who are still hiding in the building.