Agra, Feb 7 (IANS) The simian population in the Taj Mahal complex on Thursday appeared relaxed and free, after the CISF personnel decided to hang up their catapults bowing to the pressure from wildlife enthusiasts.
The CISF commandant at the Taj Mahal, Braj Bhushan, had come under heavy fire after he told some media persons that a group of CISF jawans had been posted at several points to take slingshots at the marauding monkeys who had been attacking tourists.
But the action provoked angry retorts from animal rights activists and generated a lot of negative publicity in the international media.
Naresh Kadyan, President of the Animal Welfare Organisation, lodged a complaint with the IG CISF alleging that the training to handle catapults to keep monkeys away was a gross misuse of power, manpower and funds, and “spoiled the image of Indian mechanism before international community, adopting unethical, violation against section 2 and 11 of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 with section 2 and 39 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972.”
In response to his representation, Assistant Inspector General (welfare) Tapasya Obhrai Nair has now called for “necessary action and submission of compliance/action report by February 18 positively.”
Naresh Kadyan told IANS that monkeys cannot be targeted, injured or killed in such cruel ways. “The right course for government agencies to deal with the simian menace is to provide secured enclosures with facilities for food and water.”
Meanwhile, Municipal Corporation officials on Thursday launched a campaign to round up dogs in the vicinity of the Taj Mahal after a French tourist was bitten two days ago. Tourism organisations have long been demanding action against stray cows, dogs and monkeys whose population continues to increase.
“Someone is attacked almost everyday. Many tourists have been victims of simian, bovine and canine attacks but the authorities have done absolutely nothing to address this problem,” complained Ved Gautam, a tourist guide.