In a bizarre incident, four snake charmers, upset over lack of earnings from train passengers, released the reptiles in a compartment of the Chambal Express in Uttar Pradesh to scare the passengers.
For more than half an hour, there was chaos in the unreserved compartment as passengers scrambled to get onto the upper berths. Some also hid in the washroom to save themselves from the snakes. The incident took place on Saturday.
One of the passengers who boarded the train, which operates between Howrah and Gwalior, at Banda station said that the performance started soon after as the snake charmers flipped the lid of a basket and a snake emerged, swaying as they played their flute. Once the performance ended, they asked the passengers for money.
“Some people gave the money, some declined. It is not clear how but the snake charmers got into an argument with some persons who had refused to pay. At one point, they suddenly released the snakes in the compartment,” he said. Somebody then called the railway control room.
Akhilesh Pratap Singh, the officer in-charge of the Government Railway Police at Mahoba station, said they received information about snakes being released from the railway control room.
The snake charmers eventually caught the snakes they had released and got off the train moments before it entered the Mahoba station, the train’s next stop after Banda.
Singh said: “We spoke to the passengers at Mahoba railway station and they confirmed the incident. The snakes did not bite any passenger but did cause significant distress,” he said.