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Monkey rampage spells trouble for north India

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NEW DELHI, February 20 (RIA Novosti) - A group of monkeys has descended on the north Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, snatching food and ransacking farms, national media said on Wednesday.

Measures taken by local authorities to counter the plague of monkeys, including employing monkey catchers and carrying out sterilizations, have so far proven ineffective.

Officials also initially received government go-ahead to kill the animals. However, the culling of the monkeys was later deemed unacceptable to Hindus, who revere monkeys as a manifestation of the mighty monkey god Hanuman.

"We are preparing a proposal to offer people money to catch monkeys," said Vinay Tandon, chief of the State wildlife department.

The department is likely to offer a $10 reward for catching a monkey, the officials said. The still proposal needs to be approved by the government.

A New Delhi deputy mayor died last October after falling from his terrace after being attacked by a horde of wild monkeys. A month later, a group of monkeys went on a rampage in the city, which is home to 20,000 monkeys, injuring more than 20 people, mostly children.

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