Shimla: With farmers resorting to shooting down monkeys in order to protect crops and farmlands, an urban â€“ rural divide has surfaced with many city based NGOâ€™s opposing the killings while some have come out in support of the farmers action.
Peoples Action Group (PAG) an NGO has come out in support of the direct action program launched by Khethi Bachhao Sangarsh Samiti (KBSS) to cull monkeys and wild boar for saving crops and reclaiming fertile farmlands.
Bhupender Singh, president of PAG, said that a fist full of NGOâ€™s were giving precedence to animal rights over human rights to livelihood.
Lip sympathy is extended when farmers suicide cases are reported in the media, he said, but when it comes to protecting crops or reclaiming fertile lands rendered barren because of overgrown population of monkeys and wild boars destroying crops, no voice is raised and even the government shies away from its responsibility to resolve the man-animal conflict.
He said that marauding armies of monkeys was forcing farmers to give up agriculture and increase the number of unemployed in the state.
Spearheading the program to cull simians, Kuldeep Tanwar, a former IFS officer said, â€œit was an irony that people sitting in plush cushioned sofas in air conditioned offices, who had never associated themselves with the grass root peasantry of the country, were issuing statements without knowing the gravity of the problem.
â€œThere is the National Welfare Board, and National Board of Wildlife, whose chairman is the Prime Minister, but not a single member of either of them understands the problems of peasants,â€ he said.
There are 2.36 crore members of All India Kisan Sabha and not one of them is a member of these boards, he pointed out.
Tanwar said that over 75 % of villages in Himachal were affected by the monkey menace and former forest minister Jagat Prakash Nadda had admitted in the Vidhan Sabha that primate parks made and supported by the state government had failed to contain the problem, despite spending Rs 14 per monkey for diet purposes.
The monkey sterilization program launched by the state government would only deliver tangible results after 20 years and has proved a failure, he said.