By new South Asia correspondent Vikhar Sayeed. If you feel like writing for us, drop us an email!
When I was a graduate student in Delhi a few years ago I was told to be careful of the city’s Rhesus monkeys, notorious for their violent attacks.
While I was lucky to get through my education without being attacked, S. S. Bajwa wasn’t so lucky. Bajwa, the deputy mayor of the city, died last week of head injuries sustained when he fell off his first-floor terrace after being attacked by a horde of unruly monkeys.
Bajwa’s house was reported to be close to a temple of Hanuman, an ape-like humanoid, venerated by millions of Hindus across India. It has been speculated that many of the monkeys came from the temple.
Delhi has long been grappling with the problem of its manic monkeys. Some of the recommendations to deal with the problem have been to have them chased away by larger monkeys, like the langur, or designate natural habitat for the monkeys where they can be let free. The problem is becoming more serious with the number of monkeys estimated to be close to 5, 500 and monkey catchers are now being offered 5 GBP for every monkey they catch.
Delhi has tripled in size over the past two decades and close to 15 million live in the capital of India now. As the city grows and urbanization encroaches on forested land problems with the Rhesus monkeys are bound to increase. With the death of such a senior government functionary it is hoped that the Delhi government will be forced to seriously confront and deal with the causes for so many monkeys terrorizing the residents of Delhi.
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