I-Day security challenge: Catching monkeys at Red Fort
Security agencies are facing a peculiar problem ahead of Independence Day – of ensuring the Red Fort remains monkey-free when Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the nation from its ramparts and hoists the tricolour on August 15.
Around 10 trained monkey catchers employed by the municipal corporation and eight by the Delhi government’s district conservator of forest office have been working for the last 48 hours after intelligence agencies flagged the presence of monkeys on the premises during Independence Day rehearsal on Friday morning. Not just Red Fort, officials of the Central district are also combing Rajghat, which too will be visited by the PM, to make sure it is free of monkeys.
Usually, the civic body removes stray dogs from the premises before Independence Day and Delhi Police deploys men who imitate sounds made by langurs to scare monkeys away. “I have been working for the police for the last 10 years. Every Independence Day, they deploy me and seven members of my team at Red Fort for around 10 days. We imitate langur sounds, and the monkeys leave. This time, agencies have also deployed dedicated monkey catchers alongside us,” said Ravi Kumar, a ‘monkey expert’.
Sources said the civic body has deployed members of their veterinary department and around 10 cages, with bananas as bait, have been placed on the premises. On Friday evening, one of the monkeys was caught.