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Monkeys allegedly kill a cow, terrorise people in Jharkhand villages

Last week, the unruly simians fatally attacked a cow belonging to a villager of Rajgunj panchayat. But villagers are averse to retaliating as the apes too are associated with faith.

india Updated: Apr 28, 2017 11:25 IST
Subhash Mishra
Subhash Mishra
Hindustan Times, Dhanbad
For about two years, a tribe of 30-35 monkeys have been creating havoc in the villages and terrorising people, but authorities have not been able to take action against them.(Bijay/HT PHOTO)

If you kill a cow, you might end up in jail in BJP-ruled states. But what happens when monkeys kill one? They just get away with it. That’s what is happening in 13 villages of Rajgunj panchayat in BJP-ruled Jharkhand.

Last week, Raju Agrawal, resident of Rajgunj Bazar area, allegedly lost his cow to the simians. The apes attacked and bit his cow, which led to its death, the poor man said, and blamed forest officials for not taking deterrent action.

Cows are considered sacred by Hindus and its slaughter is a punishable offence in most states of the country. However, law enforcement authorities mock at the logic, saying there is no law to punish animals in this country, even if they kill the revered cows.

Moreover, monkeys are also associated with faith—Hanuman, the monkey God of the Hindus was a trusted aide of Lord Rama. And so, villagers do not retaliate. But the apes have shown no leniency on humans.

For about two years, a tribe of 30-35 monkeys have been creating havoc in the villages in Baghmara block of Dhanbad district—attacking and injuring people and pets, snatching edibles, taking away clothes left to dry, damaging household items and roof tiles.

On the news of their arrival, terrorised residents rush to shut themselves inside their homes with their loved ones and belongings, despite the sweltering temperature—making it a curfew-like situation.

On Wednesday, 10-year-old Malti and her younger brother Mohan (8), of Meirakully village, were getting ready for school when suddenly villagers raised an alarm about the arrival of the simians. Their mother immediately decided not to send the kids to school and shut them in. Her husband had already left for work.

“We avoid stepping out of our homes or going to the roof for drying clothes or tending to crops for fear of being attacked,” Shanti Mahto, resident of Kulhi village, said.

The risk increases when villagers are returning from haats (rural weekly markets) or from the market on GT Road in Rajgunj, carrying bags containing edibles. Monkeys attack and snatch the bags; if someone dares to protest, the animals unleash violence.

People in some villages have formed teams to chase them away. But driven from one village, the apes enter the next village, in the absence of a concerted effort by people of all the villages.

Victims had lodged a complaint with the chief minister’s public grievance cell way back in August 12, 2016 and also sent reminders, but relief is still elusive.

Dhanbad ADM, Shashi Nath Jha, nodal officer of chief minister’s public grievance cell, said the divisional forest office was informed and directed to take steps, but it simply slept over the matter.

Though divisional forest officer (DFO) Saurabh Chandra could not be reached for comments, Topchachi forest ranger Gorakh Nath Yadav said that an expert team was sent to catch the monkeys, but the troop fled with the trap nets. “We are looking for alternatives to trap them,” he said.

First Published: Apr 28, 2017 11:17 IST