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Saturday, 5 December 2015

Bodybuilder fleeing monkeys falls to death

 A 19-year-old body builder, while running to safety from hordes of monkeys trying to attack him, fell on the ground and died in Samalkha town of Panipat district on Wednesday.

Attacked by monkeys, Anil Chhokar, trainer with a gym, tried to run away but lost balance and fell to death. The incident comes two months after a physically handicapped woman was admitted to hospital after monkeys attacked her.

According to neighbours, Chhokar, son of a farmer and resident of village Narayana (Panipat), had come out of Indian Gym at 5.30am on Wednesday when some monkeys attacked him and bit his hands. Chhokar tried to run for life and fell on the ground. A private security guard came to his rescue. The monkeys fled and the youth was rushed to the government hospital where he was declared brought dead.

Samalkha municipal committee secretary Mange Ram told TOI that the bodybuilder might have died of heart attack. However, the exact cause of death could not be ascertained as his family members did not opt for an autopsy. Shamsher Singh, owner of the gym, said there were marks of monkey bite on both his hands. He said Chhokar was declared Mr Panipat by the body building federation in March this year.

The news of Chhokar's death sent shockwaves through Samalkha. Residents, who have already covered their houses with iron grills to escape from simian attacks, said the problem had catapult ever since hundreds of monkeys landed in the town on National Highway 1 a few years ago. They said in the past one year, the number of attacks had gone up.

Reasoning why the number of monkeys had been rising in the area, former secretary of municipal committee S S Duggal said a section of residents doesn't want monkeys to be caught because of religious beliefs. He said some residents had even suggested bringing langoors to scare the monkeys away, but it never materialized. Sources in the municipal committee said the civic body officials did not consider it a permanent solution. "Now, we will approach the state human rights commission," said P P Kapoor, an RTI activist.

Mange Ram said they are planning to seek government permission for manual tendering of contract to catch the monkeys. As of now, the state has a policy of awarding contracts only through e-tendering, but officials feel the contractors involved in monkey catching business won't be able to participate in e-tendering because most of them are illiterates or semi-literates. Monkeys caught are freed into the forests.

Source : TOI, 27th Nov 2015

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