Shimla, June 8
In the erstwhile summer capital, monkeys eyeing/snatching things from hands is common. The exception nowadays is that they have graduated into ‘gangsters’. Wherein in earlier years they played silent thieves (Silently snatched eatables from hands), now have turned into trained gangs of ‘decoits’. Yet, controlling the menace of these these Shimla outlaws has remained a ‘Monkey business’.

Everyday sight on the road from Indian Coffee house to Chaura Madan shows a group of monkeys surrounding tourists/locals carrying eatables. Like gangsters, they surround their prey, and till the tourist does not hand over their eatables, these packs of simians don’t let them past. These monkeys are sharp enough to target places, particularly near food joints. Opposite the BSNL office, next to City Point, below Kaithu- Chaura Madan, turn off near State bank of India, next to the accountant general offices are some of their favourite looting points. Lately, even the Church side of the Ridge ground is becoming another point for them.
This looting style was only witnessed on the Jakhu Hanuman temple hike in earlier days. But in the recent past, the simian habits have changed. These animals, afraid of low vision in the dark, are now strolling the city roads even after sunset. During setting hours of the evening, fewer people are walking on the roads. The monkey gangs of this area are specifically eyeing this time. Perhaps, now they know that the lesser crowd on the road gives them a better opportunity to accomplish the dacoity of food.
The minute they eye a vulnerable person/kid, they go for it. Two to three of them would pose an attack and stand in front of their prey. They would not move aside even if ‘shoooo..ed’ away, till the person hands over their eatables to these muggers. Though to date, no attack by them have been reported in the evening hours. But if their lifestyle/behaviour has changed to being out in late evenings in the evolution process, anything adverse could also be expected.
The most astonishing part is that neither the administration nor the forest department has cared to find a solution to this issue, to take measures to bar the simians from conducting such a menace. Last media statement recorded on this subject. The forest department had claimed to be forming a Special task force of retired defence personnel, a team of ‘Monkey watchers’; however, no update has been read/seen after that.

Perhaps, the Monkey business is bound to continue…


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