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Monkeys kill Delhi deputy mayor!

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Joined: 27 September 2006

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Posted: 21 October 2007 at 11:31pm | IP Logged
Last Updated: Sunday, 21 October 2007, 21:33 GMT 22:33 UK
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Monkeys kill Delhi deputy mayor
Monkeys in India
Delhi has long struggled to cope with the marauding monkeys
The deputy mayor of the Indian capital Delhi has died a day after being attacked by a horde of wild monkeys.

SS Bajwa suffered serious head injuries when he fell from the first-floor terrace of his home on Saturday morning trying to fight off the monkeys.

The city has long struggled to counter its plague of monkeys, which invade government complexes and temples, snatch food and scare passers-by.

The High Court demanded the city find an answer to the problem last year.

Solution elusive

One approach has been to train bands of larger, more ferocious langur monkeys to go after the smaller groups of Rhesus macaques.

The city has also employed monkey catchers to round them up so they can be moved to forests.

But the problem has persisted.

Culling is seen as unacceptable to devout Hindus, who revere the monkeys as a manifestation of the monkey god Hanuman, and often feed them bananas and peanuts.

Urban development around the city has also been blamed for destroying the monkeys' natural habitat.

Mr Bajwa, a member of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is survived by his wife and a son, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

Monkeys invade Delhi government
Monkey madness
Proposed action against the monkeys not materialised
Thousands of monkeys are invading government buildings in Delhi, forcing employees to arm themselves with sticks and stones in case they are attacked.

At least 10,000 monkeys are creating havoc in the Indian capital by barging into government offices, stealing food, threatening bureaucrats and even ripping apart valuable documents.

The increasingly aggressive animals swing effortlessly between the offices of the defence, finance and external affairs ministries and some have even been spotted in the prime minister's office.

I am sometimes faced with groups of monkeys, big huge looking fellows

Surekha Rao
government employee

"They are moving in very high security areas," says Defence Ministry officer, IK Jha.

Officials say there is little that can be done.

Killing the animals is not an option because monkeys are a sacred symbol in Hinduism, India's main religion.

The authorities used to capture the monkeys and ship them to neighbouring states, but this is no longer possible because other areas are now being over populated with monkeys.

Monkey contraception

The government held a high-level meeting two years ago to solve the problem permanently.

Suggestions ranged from setting up a separate park for captured monkeys to "monkey contraception."

Nothing has been done since then and employees still walk to work in fear of attack.

Monkey uprise
Religion forbids the killing of the monkeys
"I am sometimes faced with groups of monkeys, big huge looking fellows," says government employee Surekha Rao.

"What I do is make some noise with my shoes so the monkey moves away."

Animal rights activists say the main problem is not the rising number of monkeys but the growing population of humans.

"We have encroached on their homelands, we have taken away their fruits, we have reduced their water sources and we are trapping them from their home range, from their forests, so they are coming to urban areas," says rights activist Iqbal Malik.

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