The fire of fanaticism has singed all — from men to monkeys. A simian fundamentalist is serving a prison term at Remuna police station in Balasore district of Orissa. Ramu is sentenced for life in an iron cage on the premises of the police station.
Raised by a Muslim family in Jagannathpur village, Ramu allegedly attacked some Hindu children five years ago, sparking communal tension in the area. Police arrested Ramu.
But the monkey won over the men in uniform with his naughty ways and a police peace committee decided to set Ramu free after a “serious debate”.
Once freed, the monkey went back to his old ways, refusing to become “secular”. Ramu continued his jihad and landed behind bars again — this time for good. The police built a special iron cell for the “terrorist”.
Officer-in-charge of Remuna police station Niranjan Kumar Dhir told the Hindustan Times, “Ramu is has been here for the past five years. He had attacked a few children, leading to communal discord in the area. But we are taking good care of him. We ensure that he takes regular baths and is fed four times a day. The local people bring fruits, milk, bread, biscuits and rice for monkey. Ramu is now part of the outpost.”
Ramu deserves freedom but his captors are reluctant. Dhir reckons, “Ramu is a pet. I don’t think he will be able to fend for himself in the wild. And who knows, he might start attacking members of the rival community again. We are managing well with local help”.
The monkey looks docile. Only his eyes with a glint of mischief give him away.
Animal rights activists feel that Ramu should have been handed over to the forest department long ago.
But then, in the time of terror, authorities become flint-hearted. Man or monkey — it does not make much of a difference.