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November 23, 2009

Chhattisgarh man, a snake venom junkie

     Jashpur (Chhattisgarh): A young man named Pilu Sahay of Bansjhal village in Chhattisgarh's Jashpur district has a bizarre addiction of consuming snake venom. To fulfil his need for venom, Sahay first catches a snake from the forests or other open fields in the vicinity of his village, extracts venom and stores it for his use. Sahay, now in his thirties, claims to have been consuming venom for the past two decades, 21 years to be precise. He also catches poisonous snakes from the adjoining villages and later frees them in the forests for the safety of fellow villagers. "I have an addiction for snakes, I get myself bitten by the snakes. I drink the venom by mixing it with uncooked rice. The bites do not scare me, in fact, I love being bitten by the snakes. For me, consuming snake venom is like consuming any other food like pulses," Sahay said. Sahay further mentioned that he learnt this skill from his master whose name was not disclosed and who also had a habit of consuming venom. On their part, the villagers of Bansjhal and nearby hamlets feel that Sahay is godsend, as he catches venomous snakes, which sneak into the houses of the villagers. Despite the creepy habit of Sahay consuming snake venom, the Snake Information Centre located at the district headquarters has appreciated his other jobs such as catching snakes from houses and releasing them in the forests. "Pilu is not scared of snakes because he knows about all the activities of the snakes deeply. He catches the snakes in order to free the people from the fear of being bitten by the snakes. A snake attacks humans only when it feels that the latter is posing a threat to the former. If one adapts easy measures of tackling a snake, it will never bite," said Dr. Ajay Sharma, in-charge of the Snake Information Centre. Earlier, Sahay's family used to get scared of his weird habit, but now they have got used to it and live fearlessly.
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