Poisonous snake, Malayan pit viper
Illustrative image. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Patna: A woman in Jharkhand was bitten to death by a poisonous snake after she wrapped it around her neck thinking it was a messenger from a Hindu deity.

Reports said the woman, Runiya Devi, was about to leave her home to attend a religious event dedicated to deity Shiva, also known as the Lord of snakes, when a big snake appeared before her.

Thinking it to be a messenger from god, the woman picked up the snake and wrapped it around her neck before starting the worship rituals. Witnesses said as the woman continued worshipping the snake and offering prayers to the deity, local villagers began singing religious songs to the beat of drums and other traditional instruments.

Reports said during solemnisation of these rituals, the villagers didn’t pay attention to the woman getting bitten by the snake, and remained engrossed in chanting religious songs to please the deity.

Villagers rushed for help after the woman fell unconscious with the snake still coiled around her neck. Instead of rushing to the local health centres, however, they called a local sorcerer to revive her, but to no avail.

Witnesses said the woman died because of deep-rooted superstition. They said she could have been saved had she been rushed to the hospital instantly.

Last week, a man from Nalanda district in Bihar died when he chewed a poisonous snake in a fit of rage after it bit him.

A new study has found an estimated 1.2 million people died from snake bites in India in the past two decades, averaging 58,000 deaths every year with nearly half of the victims aged 30-69 years, and over a quarter being children under 15.