Kerala's popular snake catcher Vava Suresh was discharged from the Medical College Hospital in Kottayam after undergoing treatment for a serious snakebite. Scores of people gathered at the hospital on Monday, February 7 to meet him while he was leaving. Vava Suresh had been admitted to the hospital on January 31 after being bitten by a snake at Kurichy in Kottayam district and had been in a critical condition.
On Monday, Kerala Minister for Cooperation and Registration VN Vasavan, who is in-charge of Kottayam district, was with him while the snake-catcher was leaving hospital. Vava had been at the centre of a debate over the ethics of his method of snake-catching after he was bitten by the cobra. On Monday, he spoke to the media and addressed the criticism he has been facing over his occupation.
"There are rumours against me; a campaign of some kind is going on. It was in 2006 that I first gave a training in snake catching to the staff of the Forest Department. I hadn't heard of any other snake-catchers at that time. Now, there is a campaign going on against me," he told the media.
Vava Suresh also alleged that an official of the Forest Department has been asking people not to call him to catch snakes. "I wonâ€™t say his name. Now, I will be more careful (about snake catching). But I will continue snake catching till my death," he added.
Vava Suresh was bitten by a cobra when he had gone to a local residentâ€™s home in Kurichy, Kottayam, after the resident spotted a cobra in his house compound. A video of the incident, which had gone viral, showed that Suresh was trying to place the snake inside a gunny bag by holding it upside down by its tail. However, the video shows the snake suddenly biting him on his right thigh. Suresh was taken to hospital after he felt unconscious. His condition was critical for a couple of days and he was on ventilator support.
The accident has kicked off a debate in the state on the methods of snake-catching. Some slammed Suresh for not adopting scientific methods in snake catching. Some others voiced support of him, saying that he has helped save lives of many people.