Monday, October 16, 2006

Monkey to be freed from five year police lockup

A monkey, lodged in an Orissa police station for the past five years, will be freed into the wild, but it will have to wait a bit as officials admit they don't have a suitable cage for the simian's transfer.

Eight-year-old Ramu has been detained inside the Remuna police station in Balasore district ever since he attacked a boy and injured him.

The incident gained communal overtones because the boy was a Hindu and Ramu belonged to a minority family in Jagannathpur village. Tensions ran high for some days and some villagers complained to the police, forcing them to take action.

Authorities' attention was drawn to Ramu's plight after the media, including IANS, reported the matter Saturday and the state government ordered an inquiry.

"I visited the police station and inquired about the ordeal of the Rhesus Macaque," Laxmidhar Behera, a forest range officer, told IANS.

"Our immediate job is to release the simian to the wild. We are taking steps for his release.

"However, the main obstacle is that we do not have a cage. I have asked the officials of the Kuldiha reserve forest to make a cage so that the monkey can be shifted soon," he said.

"I hope by Wednesday it will be completed and we can free the ape," Behera said.

Meanwhile, Ramu doesn't seem to be complaining and is well looked after.

"He eats fruit in the morning and evening and has rice and curry for lunch. We spend at least Rs.20 a day from our own pockets," said police station in-charge Niranjan Kumar Dhir.

While Dhir admitted that the law prohibits keeping a wild animal confined but added that he had little choice. "What can we do? Whenever we have tried to free him, he has come back and attacked people."

Story here.

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