A Chandigarh-based tattoo artist Kamaljit Singh and his manager have been arrested for keeping a monkey as a pet and exhibiting its photos on his Instagram account.
The artist, who owns Kamzinkzone tattoo studio in Sector 35 in Chandigarh, has also been accused of force-feeding the monkey an 'alcoholic' drink, a charge that he has denied.
"A Herculean task comes to an end," tweeted Deputy Conservator of Forests Abdul Qayum.
"A suitable action taken against wildlife offenders under WPA (Wildlife Protection Act) 1972. A good message will reach to all TikTokers and everyone who thinks wildlife are pet or can be hunted," he added.
The tattoo artist and his manager Deepak have been booked under Sections 9, 39 and 50 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
Pictures of a monkey sitting on Kamaljit Singh's shoulder had gone viral on social media. As he came to know that he was caught on the wrong side of the law, he deleted the pictures from his Instagram account.
The rhesus macaque, like other wild animals, can't be kept and trained for entertainment purposes in India.
Acting on a complaint by the People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the local Forest and Wildlife Department lodged a complaint against the artist with the police.
The artist told the police that he had rescued the monkey in an injured condition from Kasauli hills in Himachal Pradesh. He said when he came to know that keeping a monkey in captivity was a crime, he released it in the wild. He said no alcoholic beverage, as shown in a photo, was served to the animal. It a was a mix of apple and pomegranate juice.