Agra, Jan 25 (PTI) The CISF personnel manning the Taj Mahal here are having to undergo training to use a novel weapon – ‘gulels’ (catapults), to tackle menace of a different type – that of monkeys.

Central Industrial Security Force Commandant Braj Bhushan Singh told PTI that constables are being trained to use catapults to ward off monkeys from attacking and biting tourists.

“The monkeys have been posing a huge problem here. Many tourists have been injured in monkey attacks. Our jawans are being trained to use catapults to shoo them away,” he said.

A local wildlife activist, armed with the provisions of the Wildlife Act, 1972, however, has come in simians’ defence.

As per the Act, monkeys are protected species and no physical harm can be inflicted on them, said activist Shravan Kumar Singh.

Ved Gautam, a tourist guide, however, said, “We have seen some CISF jawans with catapults, but they have neither harmed monkeys nor used stones to target them.” Agra has been in news due to simians’ menace for the last six months, as monkey attacks have resulted in several deaths and injuries to people.

“The hospitals here almost daily receive at least one serious case of monkey attack. The municipal corporation has failed to find a solution to this menace,” said Mukesh Jain, a functionary of the Satyamev Jayate Trust, that had financially supported several programmes to sterilise monkeys and transfer them to forests.

The city of Taj has been facing the monkey menace for quite some time.

Last November, a monkey had snatched a 12-day-old infant from the arms of his mother and killed the baby on the outskirts of Agra.

This was on November 12. Just days later, monkeys were blamed for the death of a 58-year-old woman.

On November 22, an Italian tourist was attacked by a monkey near the western gate of Taj Mahal.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.