Got bats in the attic? Mice in the cupboards? Roaches under the fridge? Stray cats outside your door? While those critters may be bothersome, they won’t murder you. (OK, the cats might try, but a laser pointer easily distracts them.) Be glad you don’t live in India, where gangs of marauding monkeys have murdered multiple people and continue to roam free because the police and animal control are handcuffed by traditions, religion and laws. Two more people were killed recently in separate instances. It’s not the first time, and it apparently won’t be the last. Has India become Ground Zero for the monkey apocalypse? All of a sudden, those chirping crickets aren’t so annoying, are they?
The first victim was a 60-year-old woman named Randiri, who lives in the village of Kaithal in Chandausi Tehsil of Moradabad district in Uttar Pradesh in northern India. This is not a backwoods or jungle village – Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state in in India with over 200 million inhabitants. That doesn’t include the monkeys – India has over 50 million of them. Poor Randiri (some reports give her name as Launshree) was cooking on the balcony of her home what a gang of monkeys attacked, causing her to lose her balance and fall off the precipice to the ground. She was rushed to the hospital but declared ‘dead on arrival’.
The second monkey murder occurred less than a day later in the village of Maulagarth, which is reportedly just a few miles from Kaithal. In this case, the victim – a 20-year-old male named Rakesh – was standing on a roof when he was attacked by a gang of monkeys, lost his balance and fell to his death. Were these intentional deaths by an angry and frustrated species against its oppressors or accidents caused by an uncontrolled overpopulation of monkeys desperate for food?
In October 2018, a gang of monkeys in India attacked a man with bricks, eventually killing him. While monkey defenders say they merely (and accidentally) knocked brinks off of a wall and the man was standing in the wrong place, the end result was the same. Also in 2018, a rhesus allegedly broke into a house and kidnapped a baby who was later found dead in a well. And in 2007, the deputy mayor of Delhi died after being attacked by monkeys. During that same year, a High Court Order made it mandatory for monkeys in sanctuaries to be fed by humans, rather than planting bansa, gram, and banana plants that yield fruit the monkeys can collect themselves. Depending on humans for their food means humans with no food are seen as not doing their obligation and thus, under monkey logic, must be murdered.
India Times asked the local authorities what they planned to do and they said:
“We will soon write to the forest department asking them to make arrangements for capturing monkeys.”
Soon? A report in Vice explains the forest department may be in no hurry to get rid of the monkeys because it gets paid to feed them. So, a police force is being paid to nurture the very criminals it’s supposed to be vowed to protect us from. Sound familiar? The monkeys have even infiltrated India’s parliament. Really! In December, Reuters reported that red-faced rhesus macaques have colonized areas around parliament and the sites of key ministries, from the prime minister’s office to the finance and defense ministries. One government employee described the monkey mayhem:
“Very often they snatch food from people as they are walking, and sometimes they even tear files and documents by climbing in through the windows.”
Do the monkeys have a hidden agenda other than free food and protected status because of their association with the demigod Hanuman, who takes the form of a monkey? Prime Minister Narendra Modi may think so. Hundreds of macaques chewed through fiber optic cables strung along the banks of the river Ganges and stopped his planned Wi-Fi rollout to his home town of Varanasi. Are the monkeys afraid of 5G too?
Before you smugly say that it can’t happen here, southern Florida’s wild monkey population, descendants of escaped lab animals and pets, now numbers in the thousands, even with no religion or cultural protections.
How long before we live on a real Planet of the Apes? These murder cases show that the monkeys and apes don’t have to be smarter than us … they just have to outnumber us and be hungrier than us. Is a monkey apocalypse really that far-fetched?