Karnataka: Seven accused behind killing of 36 monkeys arrested in Hassan

Earlier, the Karnataka High Court had directed the registrar-general to file a PIL petition seeking action against those responsible for the death of the monkeys.

Monkey-catchers, Ramu and his wife Yashoda, from Banavara and three residents of Ugane were arrested by the police. Two others nabbed by the forest officials are yet to be named. (Representative image)

A few days after the carcasses of 36 monkeys were found at a village in Karnataka’s Hassan district, a total of seven people allegedly linked to the killing of the primates were arrested on Monday.

“All accused have been produced in court after FIRs were filed in their name, with legal proceedings to follow,” Hassan Deputy Commissioner R Girish told According to the district administration, a total of seven people—five by the police and two by forest officials—were confirmed to be arrested.

Girish added that preliminary investigation suggested that the accused had not planned to kill the monkeys. They had hired a couple, known to be monkey-catchers, to ensure that the monkeys were trapped and shifted to another place.

A forest official added, “The residents of Ugane village had been facing monkey menace for the past few months. They were suffering from huge losses due to the damage caused by the monkeys.”

He stated that due to this, some villagers had got together to seek the help of monkey-catchers, Ramu and his wife Yashoda, from Banavara. “However, the situation seems to have gone out of control as the monkeys caught in gunny bags were suffocated to death. The accused then travelled nearly 30-km to dump the bags with the bodies in Kogilamane, near Chowdanahalli village in Belur taluk,” the official added.

Apart from the couple, those arrested by the police have been identified as Prasanna, Rudregowda, and Manju, all residents of Ugane. Those nabbed by the forest officials are yet to be named. Meanwhile, the forest officials have arrested Srikanth and Ramanuja Iyengar. A case has been booked against them under the Wildlife Protection Act and Section 429 (mischief by killing or maiming cattle, etc., of any value or any animal) of the Indian Penal Code.

Initially, forest officials had suspected “malicious poisoning” and “physical injury” as the cause of death after a preliminary probe. However, when asked about this, a senior official said, “A detailed report needs to be submitted to the High Court of Karnataka later this week and hence, we would like not to comment on this for now.”

Earlier last week, a Division Bench of the HC comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice N S Sanjay Gowda had sought a report from the district administration officials on the issue. After initiating a public interest litigation (PIL) on suo motu basis, citing newspaper reports, the Bench had termed the incident a gross violation of the right to life conferred on animals. It directed the court’s registrar-general to file a PIL petition seeking action against those responsible for the death of the monkeys.

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