Cigarette-Smoking Monkey Weds Fellow Primate

Villagers go bananas for perfect pair

AFP/Getty Images

Friends say they're a perfect couple: The groom smokes cigarettes and the bride was raised by a priest, who wanted them to marry.

They're monkeys.

Raju and Chinki are now simian spouses, after a secret wedding arranged by their human minders, according to Reuters.

"We will welcome the bride in our house in Banetha after the wedding with all rituals," Ramesh, the 38-year-old rickshaw driver who cares for Raju, told Reuters. Ramesh and Raju have long attracted crowds who gawk at them sharing tea and cigarettes. "I want to enjoy the feelings of a son's marriage through Raju's wedding."

Strange as it sounds, monkey marriages have been held before,in both China and India. They're illegal in India, however. Monkeys are protected as government property, and people are forbidden to even pet them. When government officials warned Raju and Chinki's caretakers not to go through with the cremeony, the humans went into hiding.

On the day the wedding was to take place, more than 200 officials came into the town of Talwas to stop it. They were confronted by hundreds of people from nearby villages who had come to watch.

"I have come all the way just to watch God's marriage and now the police are telling me to go back and stay away from the temple," said Prem Jain, an angry 72-year-old villager, after arguing with a policeman.

"They told me the monkeys have been captured. They can't capture God!"

The came word the monkeys had been secretly married off in a ceremony somewhere deep in the forest. The villagers erupted in cheers. Government officials later found Chinki in the woods, a vermilion mark on her forehead, as is customary for married Hindu women.

Afterward, Ramesh and Kaviya spoke of the union like proud parents.

"She is like my daughter and I am doing the duties of a good father," said a smiling Kaviya.

And Ramesh said he was making plans.

"I will have a big reception for them," he said.

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