Monkey Catchers on Guard for Obama’s India Visit
Delhi’s police are to build 30-feet towers in jungle surrounding President Obama’s hotel to protect him from terrorist attacks during next week’s visit, and also shield from an invasion by the city’s most persistent threat – monkeys.
They have been asked to erect ‘machan’ towers for elite commandos who will use powerful searchlights and night-sight binoculars to lookout for suspicious movement and any signs of a simian invasion.
The jungle opposite the president’s suite at the exclusive ITC Mauriya Hotel is part of the city’s Ridge forest which is home to many of the monkeys which terrorise the capital.
Tribes of the red-bottomed bhandar monkeys regularly overrun government office compounds, bite through expensive computer cables, attack people carrying food and cause general mayhem.
Local newspapers regularly report the latest victims of the ‘monkey menace’ but while officials are usually reluctant to take action against them – they symbolise the Hindu monkey God Hanuman – this time they are taking no chances.
Alongside heavily armed antiterrorist commandos, trained monkey-catchers will also be deployed.
"We will deploy commandos, snipers and even monkey catchers to ensure his safety," a police officer told The Hindustan Times.
Taj Hassam, joint commissioner of police (security) confirmed the issue was on the agenda for an "all-agency" meeting held on Monday.
The Indian government fears Islamic terrorist groups, like the Lashkar e Taiba, might use President Obama’s visit to launch attacks anywhere in India.
Officials have been working with counter-terrorist specialists from Britain, the United States and Australia to prevent any high profile attacks which could cause new tensions between India and Pakistan.
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