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Activist demands arrest of Priyanka Vadra for handling snakes at Rae Bareli


New Delhi, An animal rights activist on Friday demanded arrest of Congress General Secretary Priyanka Vadra, after a video emerged on social media of her handling and stroking snakes while interacting with snake charmers during campaigning for the general elections in Rae Bareli constituency of Uttar Pradesh. Taking umbrage over the alleged offence, Gauri Maulekhi, who is member of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and a trustee in Maneka Gandhi's People for Animals (PFA), has written to the Chief Wildlife Warden of Uttar Pradesh demanding the arrest of Ms Vadra and others for promoting animal cruelty to the endangered species. In the video, Ms Vadra can be seen holding a snake in one hand and stroking another caged snake much to the amazement of onlookers who took videos of the incident. She can be seen telling the bystanders that snakes are harmless and not a cause of worry. However, Ms Maulekhi in the letter said one of the snakes appeared to be the highly poisonous Spectacled Cobra, which must have been defanged after its illegal capture. By her action, Ms Vadra was "promoting illegal capture and mutilation" of an animal protected under the Animal Protection Act 1972. The other serpents were the Sand Boa and another cobra, who too were being used by Ms Vadra for election campaigning, she alleged. Terming the three snakes as protected wildlife species, the activist calims that Ms Vadra had intentionally aided the act of hunting the species by 'encouraging and instigating the people to touch" the animals.She further demanded that action be initiated against Ms Vadra and her accomplices under Sections 9, 51, 51A, 52, and 57 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. The activist also urged that the three reptiles be treated by a trained veterarian and possible rehabilitation by competent authorities be considered. Earlier, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals too raised objection over Congress leader meeting snake charmers in Rae Bareli and then holding their snakes. The video could land Ms Vadra in trouble as the Election Commission has banned the use of animals for campaign purposes.

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