While Monkeys Roam Free In India, Humans Live In Cages

PACHMARHI — Anil Yadav has lived in the hilltop town of Pachmarhi for the past 16 years, but over the past three he says that the monkey population has expanded beyond control. So much so that humans are now being forced to live in cages.

In India, monkeys are sacred and worshipped by Hindus as they are seen as the living representatives of the cherished god Hanuman. Hindu tradition also calls for feeding monkeys on Tuesdays and Saturdays. But now, people are starting to see them as pests.

"If the doors of the house are open they steal all kinds of food from inside," Yadav told Portal KBR. "They jump on the roof and damage it. They steal clothes and rip out wiring. We cannot grow things like flowers because they come and eat them — they’re really wreaking havoc everywhere!"

Even in Delhi, the capital, the monkey population has grown so large and aggressive that overwhelmed city officials have petitioned India’s Supreme Court to relieve them from monkey control duties.

Back in Pachmarhi, the solution is cages — though for the humans, not the monkeys. People have added wire grills to windows and doors to their homes to prevent these anthropoids intruding. "Though, even with the cages you still need to be on the look out," adds Yadav’s friend Kaushal.

He recalls one time when he was taking a bath and saw a dozen monkeys trying to take his clothes and cell phone. "I had to jump out to chase them away!"

Local forest officials say they are have been flooded with complaints, though rangers say that local residents are part of the problem — leaving food out in the open and throwing scraps on the ground.

Photo: Capitan Giona

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