A four-month-old baby has died after being kidnapped by a gang of monkeys and thrown from a three-story roof.

The horrifying incident took place in the rural village of Dunka, close to Bareilly in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, where Nirdesh Upadhyay was standing on the terrace of his three-story house with his wife and their baby son.

The trio were enjoying a lazy Friday evening up on the terrace when a troop of the primates clambered onto the roof and surrounded them.

After futile efforts to bat the monkeys away, the new parents ran towards the stairs in an attempt to escape but Nirdesh, who was carrying his son, stumbled and dropped the child. 

In a split second before either parent could react, one of the monkeys grabbed the baby boy by the hand and hurled him off the roof. 

Distraught, the parents managed to get back inside the house and tore downstairs to their son’s aid, but the infant reportedly died at the scene.

The incident is now under investigation with authorities at the Shahi police station, and Bareilly city’s conservation chief, Lalit Verma, told PTI News his team were dispatched to investigate the involvement of monkeys in the child’s death.

Uttar Pradesh is home to a huge population of rhesus monkeys, which roam free throughout many of the state’s towns and cities.

Although the primates are generally able to live in relative harmony alongside the humans who reside in these settlements, there are a number of documented cases of the monkeys attacking people, in particular children.