Monkey Madness: Simian Armies Turn Braj Mandal Into A Battleground

Monkey Madness: Simian Armies Turn Braj Mandal Into A Battleground

Agra/Mathura, July 1 (TNA) Simian armies in Braj Mandal have made life hell for local citizens, tourists, and pilgrims. Every day, scores of innocent victims queue up at local government hospitals for anti-rabies shots, which are always in short supply. Tourists and locals in Agra are plagued by monkey troubles, with several deaths from falls as people try to escape the marauding primates. Hundreds have been bitten or injured, creating widespread panic and turning life into a nightmare.

For years, local authorities in Agra and Mathura have struggled to find solutions to this menace. Agra, home to the Taj Mahal, hosts over 50,000 monkeys. Government agencies have failed to effectively manage these mischievous creatures that threaten both humans and greenery.

Attempts to relocate monkeys to the Chambal ravines or Chitrakoot forests have failed, as those areas are already overrun with monkeys. Local wildlife experts warn that many of Agra's monkeys suffer from TB, which could spread if they are moved to forests.

Officials are now mobilizing resources to develop a monkey shelter similar to the bear conservation center near the Soor Sarovar reserve forest. They propose installing large cages along the Yamuna riverbanks, allowing people to feed the monkeys safely while reducing their impact on the city. Previous plans to curb the simian nuisance have failed due to a lack of implementation and resources. A former divisional commissioner enlisted Wildlife SOS to round up 10,000 monkeys, but the plan fell through due to bureaucratic hurdles.

Every shrine has dozens of aggressive primates. For pilgrims, especially women and children, navigating the lanes was always difficult due to cows and stray dogs. Now the simian menace adds to the trouble. Pilgrims are almost daily attacked in Vrindavan, with monkeys targeting spectacles or purses, which are returned only when offered food or drinks.

But now the situation is alarming. Monkeys are seen in armies marching from one area to another. Due to Wild Life Act provisions, the monkeys cannot be attacked or rounded up without adequate safeguards and precautions. Plans to shift the monkeys to other areas have failed, as no district wants to shelter them.

Indeed, Braj Mandal faces a significant threat from the exploding simian population in Agra and nearby religious shrines. The situation is worse in the holy towns of Mathura, Goverdhan, and Vrindavan, said Rajiv Gupta, president of Lok Swar. Locals note a certain herd mentality among the monkeys. "Earlier, they were satisfied with a biscuit or a piece of bread, but lately, they have acquired a taste for juices. They are always looking for packaged juices," Gupta adds.

Protests have erupted in Kosi, and in Mathura and Vrindavan, many injured people have complained about the monkey menace. "Due to religious beliefs, no one wants to harm the monkeys, though vegetable sellers keep catapults ready with stones, which the monkeys fear the most," said a Vrindavan resident.

Nandan Das, another Vrindavan resident, says, "Monkeys can attack humans, but we cannot kill or shoot them." Residents' complaints to forest department officials have yielded no results. An unnamed official said, "We have no funds for these activities. Moreover, when you can't kill the monkeys, where would you keep them?"

Residents report large numbers of monkeys moving across house terraces, uprooting flowers, and attacking women and children. From dawn, they jump from terrace to terrace, converging on the riverfront steps where pilgrims gather. Their evening return is equally menacing.

Animal rights activists suggest mass sterilization as a solution, requiring the establishment of monkey hospitals. Another measure could be declaring monkeys 'vermin' to exclude them from Wildlife Act protections. However, religious beliefs hinder major decisions to tackle the simian nuisance. "In another country, they would have been physically liquidated," says an angry activist.

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