Killing campaign of simians launched by the State Forest Department of Himachal Pradesh in collaboration with Kheti Bachaou Sangharsh Samiti [KBSS] in the Renuka area of Sirmour district has evoked sharp reactions from the environmentalists and religious people from the different parts of state and country as well. People started coming openly to oppose the campaign after the whole campaign was exposed by the Himachal Plus last week.
As per the fresh details, killing campaign which was initiated in the Renuka area on the 14th of July was still going on and as per the sources of KBSS nearly 100 monkeys had been shot dead by the shooters during past two weeks. KBSS workers, mostly comrades affiliated with communist thinking organizations were visiting every Panchyat and persuading Panchyati Raj representatives to pass a resolution for allowing killing of simians in their respective Panchyats, many such meetings had been organized in the different parts of the district recently.
In this connection, former Union Minister, Member of Parliament and leading environmentalists Ms Menka Gandhi has acted quickly.Â After going through the reports published in media she strongly condemned the campaign and initiated immediate action action by sending her representative to gather information from the field and persuade the residents of Renuka area to oppose this campaign.
As representative of Ms Menka Gandhi, senior office bearer of Citizens for welfare and Protection of Wild life, Ms Sonia Ghosh last evening reached at Nohra Dhar and met with hundreds of residents of the area. Today also she remained busy meeting Panchyati Raj representatives, local NGO leaders and social workers of the area. Ms Ghosh was persuading residents of the area to built pressure on the state government to find out permanent solution of simians problem by opening a century for monkeys in the state.
Ms Ghosh tried to persuade hundreds of farmers of different Panchyats to strongly oppose the killing campaign as she said the barbaric killings of simians and firing in the forests was not legal action under rule, the action was against law of nature and would pose a threat to the environment with several problems to the residents of the area in near future. She made it clear that permission accorded by the state government to kill monkeys was not correct and becomes serious when ammunition for killing campaign was being provided by the forest department itself which was the custodian of the wild life. She hinted that this matter would be raised on the international level.
However several eminent persons of Nohra Dhar area including Surender Chauhan, Ramesh Verma, Bhagat Ram Verma, Satya Pal, Klaushalya, Shankutla, Vijay Chauhan and Sunder Singh expressed plight of farmers before Ms Ghosh and said that monkey menace was to be solved at any cost and permanently as simians population had increased many folds in the state and were damaging their crops to the extent of 70 percent in many areas and had poised serious threat to the agriculture.
Several NGOs working for the protection of wild life, environment protection and religious organizations including Nature Watch India has termed grant of permission to kill simians by the hunters as violation of the provisions of Wild Life Protection Act 1972 and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and has threatened for a legal remedy if the killing was not stopped.
Mr. J. S. Jamwal, Project coordinator, Himalayan Region Snow Leopard conservancy USA, who is also a retired I.F.S. officer, in a letter written to Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh has suggested five remedies to get rid of monkey menace including creating a Monkey Century, lifting ban on their export, planting fruit trees in the forests, grant of daily wage to the farmers spending time in protecting their crops and grant of compensation for the crops damaged by the monkeys. He surprised that even after submission several memorandums right up to Mr. Man Mohan Singh, Prime Minister of India no project was planned to solve the monkey menace by the state of Union government.