posted on Sep, 2 2002 @ 11:36 PM
Monkey's funeral draws crowds From a correspondent in Hyderabad, India September 01, 2002
THOUSANDS of people attended the funeral of a monkey revered as a divine incarnation of a Hindu god in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh,
But animal rights activists said the animal, which collapsed yesterday, died of starvation and exhaustion after it was trapped inside a temple for a
month by over-zealous worshippers.
According to local police officials, 3000 to 4000 people were present when the monkey was cremated according to Hindu custom, during a ceremony
organised by the temple committee.
The animal had strayed into a temple dedicated to Hanuman - the Hindu monkey god - in Timmaganipalli village, some 400 kilometres south of the Andhra
Pradesh capital Hyderabad.
When the villagers discovered the monkey sitting on the idol of Hanuman they thought it was a reincarnation of the god and refused to let it out of
Hundreds of pilgrims poured in to seek blessings, often garlanding the monkey with flowers, besides making offerings of money and coconuts.
"We tried to regulate the traffic of pilgrims to ensure proper rest to the monkey but it had created quite a sensation that at least 300 to 400
people would come everyday to see it," N Kalidas, deputy superintendent of police told AFP.
Even when the monkey stopped eating, animal rights groups were not allowed to take it away.
"The monkey was quite old and both its hind legs were paralysed," Narendra Reddy secretary of animal rights group Karuna told AFP.
"It clearly needed help and we wanted to have it shifted to a veterinary hospital but the villagers just refused to co-operate with us," he said.
A team of vets examined the monkey after the courts intervened last week.
Karuna had petitioned the Andhra Pradesh high court to rescue the monkey, which they claimed was being exploited by the priests of the temple to make
The court passed a directive on Wednesday ordering the local police and administration to ensure the monkey was not harassed by pilgrims and given
proper medical attention, but it died a few days later.
[Edited on 3-9-2002 by Netchicken]