NEW DELHI - India's government faces a tough re-election battle next year but first it must deal with an opponent as wily as any political rival, troops of monkeys that have become a big threat around its offices in New Delhi.
Red-faced rhesus macaques have spread havoc, snatching food and mobile telephones, breaking into homes and terrorising people in and around the Indian capital.
They have colonised areas around parliament and the sites of key ministries, from the prime minister's office to the finance and defence ministries, frightening both civil servants and the public.
"Very often they snatch food from people as they are walking, and sometimes they even tear files and documents by climbing in through the windows," said Ragini Sharma, a home ministry employee.
Ahead of Tuesday's start of parliament's winter session, an advisory to members of parliament last month detailed ways they could keep simian attacks at bay. Don't tease or make direct eye contact with a monkey, the advisory said, and definitely don't get between a mother and her infant.