Amaravati: The Andhra Pradesh government’s plan to conduct a ‘sarpayagam,‘ a ritual to propitiate the snake god, after two died and over 100 people hospitalised due to snakebites in Krishna district in the last two months, has drawn flak from various quarters.
The famous Subramanyeswara Swamy temple in Mopidevi, where the ritual is usually performed by individuals, will be the venue for the ‘sarpayagam‘ and the ‘sarpa dosha nivarana puja‘ on 29 August being arranged by the government’s endowments department.
Priests will perform the rituals under the aegis of the endowments department and the Krishna district administration, District Collector B Lakshmikantham said.
With heavy rains and the Krishna river being in spate, reptiles were making their way into agricultural fields and villages such as Nagayalanka and Avanigadda, causing a spate of attacks in Diviseema region of the district in the last few days.
Elsewhere in the district too many snakebite cases were reported in the last couple of months with two people succumbing to reptile attack.
According to district health authorities, one person died of snakebite in Avanigadda and another in Gannavaram.
The government hospital in Avanigadda saw a large number of snakebite victims in the last 10 days.
However, the government’s move to conduct the ‘sarpayagam‘ drew flak from anti-superstition organisation like the Jana Vignana Vedika.
The Vedika, which works for promoting scientific temper, has criticised the government’s plan to conduct ‘sarpayagam‘, saying it amounted to promoting superstitious beliefs.
“This is only to hoodwink the people and a waste of money,” Jampa Krishna Kishore said. He pointed out that the government had been performing various ‘yagas‘ like ‘varuna yagam‘ (for rains) but there was no evidence that they gave positive results.
Government officials, however, have their own take on this. “This should not be seen as a superstition. Many yagas and pujas are performed in temples regularly and the sarpayagam is similar to that,” a senior official said.