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  Metros   Mumbai  15 Mar 2017  2 men held for trying to wed monkey pair off in Lonavla

2 men held for trying to wed monkey pair off in Lonavla

Published : Mar 15, 2017, 4:24 am IST
Updated : Mar 15, 2017, 5:31 am IST

The accused were detained under the Wildlife Protection Act.

Forest officials rescued the monkeys on Tuesday.
 Forest officials rescued the monkeys on Tuesday.

Mumbai: Forest department officials on Tuesday detained two men in Lonavla for allegedly trying to marry off two monkeys. The monkeys have been rescued. Acting on the tip off by the Thane forest department (TFD), Lonavala forest officials detained the two accused, B. Lokhande (39), the keeper and Praveen Thampi (59), the owner of the bungalow from his residence in Lonavla. They were detained for not only keeping the two monkeys — one male and female —in captivity but also for trying to perform their marriage, considering it to be cruelty. The accused were detained under the Wildlife Protection Act. They were produced in court on Tuesday. The court granted them magistrate custody till March 27.

The chief conservator of forest (CCF) of TFD received a tip off about the two monkeys in captivity and that their wedding that was to take place in the bungalow. The rang with his team reached the spot and rescued the two monkeys from the terrace of the bungalow. While Thampi and Lokahande denied getting the two monkeys married, forest officials said they are confident they can get the accused to confess to the crime.

Sources said the forest officials are keen to prove that the two monkeys were to perform the ritual as they suspect the owner’s version of events.

Somnath Takawle, RFO, Pune forest department, told The Asian Age, “The owner residing in Mumbai told the court he was not aware that his workers had tied up the monkeys in his bungalow. However, the other accused, Lokhande, said that the monkeys had fled a forest fire and hid on the bungalow’s terrace.”

In response to this, the department produced pictures not only showing the monkeys being tied up in a garden-like area and the terrace but also the owner posing with them. “If the owner was being honest he wouldn’t have lied, saying he didn’t know about their existence while he have proof for it,” an official said. Mr Takawde, who was present in the court on Tuesday, further added, “We have got time to find out the truth from them. No accused will ever confess to the crime and accept the charges. We will investigate the matter further in the coming days.”

Commenting on the incident, Debashish Majumdar, secretary of Thane society of prevention from cruelty to animals (TSPCA), said, “Apart from the fact that it is illogical, it is also against the Wildlife Protection Act. To possess a monkey is akin to hunting, therefore punishable. If there are any cultural beliefs, it is high time that these beliefs are squashed. This can happen only through constant awareness programmes.”

Tags: forest department