The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday issued notice to the Uttar Pradesh government demanding that the simian menace in Vrindavan be addressed.
The order came after PIL petitioner Madhu Mangal Shukla listed in the court attacks on numerous pilgrims by monkeys in the Hindu holy town visited by thousands daily.
“The High Court has taken a very serious view of the matter and has asked various government departments to file responses within a month,” Shukla said.
The court issued notice to the District Magistrate of Mathura, the Circle Officer of Vrindavan, the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh and the state Forest Department, asking them to explain how the monkey menace in Vrindavan was being addressed.
The monkey population has continued to grow in Vrindavan, about 135 km south of Delhi.
The monkeys are known to target unsuspecting pilgrims and flee with their bags and spectacles. Trained help is available for Rs 100 or a little less to get the snatched material back from the animals.
Many people in the town have virtually stopped using their rooftops as monkeys attack women and children. An ashram inmate died last year after a fall from the terrace when monkeys attacked him.
A month ago, a housewife attacked by monkeys was hospitalised for days with broken legs. While locals are angry, many of them keep feeding the monkeys due to superstitious beliefs.
When President Pranab Mukherjee visited Vrindavan in November 2015, the local authorities had to hire langurs to shoo away the rowdy monkeys.
The number of monkeys in Mathura district, which includes Goverdhan, Radha Kund, Gokul and Barsana, is estimated to be more than 10,000. Most have turned violent and aggressive, say the locals.
In Kosi, there have been street protests against monkeys.
Residents complain that despite numerous petitions, neither the Forest Department nor the municipal authorities have shown any interest to contain the growing menace of stray animals.
A Forest Department official told IANS: “We have no funds for these activities. Moreover, when you can’t kill the monkeys, where would you keep them?”