Thursday, May 17, 2007

Indian legislators seek protection from monkey 'battalions'

monkey menaceIndian MPs demanded protection on Wednesday from hordes of monkeys which have invaded the parliament building, ministries and departments in New Delhi.

The debate coincided with court orders on Wednesday to transport captured monkeys from New Delhi to a nearby wildlife sanctuary.

Opposition parliamentarian K. Malaisamy said the creatures were creating havoc in the heart of the capital.

"Monkeys come in battalions, break cables, mock at passers-by and harass them and even decamp with belongings of children from playgrounds," he said as other MPs in parliament's upper house joined the emotionally charged debate.

"In the name of environmental protection, we cannot afford to remain silent spectators to this monkey menace in South Avenue, where several government offices and flats of MPs are located," Malaisamy said.

"The monkeys are even invading kitchens in MPs' apartments," shouted Ramdeo Bhandary of the regional RJD party, which backs India's ruling Congress government.

Parliamentarians from various groupings urged Environment Minister T. Baalu to capture the monkeys, which roam free in ministry lobbies and often break into the fortified office of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The defence ministry has, however, recruited bands of ferocious langurs trained to attack the smaller breed of simians inside military facilities in New Delhi.

While MPs wanted action, the Delhi High Court Wednesday warned the New Delhi administration to avoid scandals in transporting captured monkeys to a nearby sanctuary.

"The same set of monkeys may be caught and transported several times on record for making the process a money-making business," judges Tirath Singh Thakur and S. N. Aggarwal told the city government in an order.

Several city residential districts petitioned the court in 2001 to initiate steps to make New Delhi "monkey-free".

Story here.

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