Animal rights organisation PETA filed a petition with the National Green Tribunal on Tuesday demanding an immediate ban on use of ‘manja’ ahead of Independence Day on August 15. The organisation cited reasons that ‘manja’ or sharp string which is used to fly kites can cause serious injuries, sometimes fatal, to birds, animals and also humans.
Independence Day, in various parts of the country including Delhi, is celebrated by flying kites and use of ‘manja’ is common on these occasions.
“Manja is a menace to public safety,posing a life-threatening risk to humans and birds alike. PETA India is calling on authorities to make kite-flying enjoyable and safe for everyone by banning manja from the activity,” said PETA India Government Affairs Liaison Nikunj Sharma.
So far, the high courts of Rajasthan, Allahabad, Jammu & Kashmir have banned manja’s use. Other administrations like Amritsar, Chennai, Karnataka, Telangana among others have also taken steps to limit the sale and production of the thread.
The organisation issued a press release in which it mentioned past cases where people were killed because of the injury caused by ‘manja’. “In July 2016, a man died in Ghaziabad after his throat was slashed by manja while he was riding a motorbike,” it stated.
Similar incidents took place in 2015 when a man in East Delhi and a 5-year-old boy in Chennai also lost their lives after their throats were slashed by kite string.
In 2014, according to media reports, a total of 900 birds were injured in the festivities of the three-day kite flying celebration of Makar Sankranti in Jaipur and 100 birds injured in Hyderabad.
The organisation, which primarily works for safety of animals, stated that thousands of birds including pigeons and engdangered species like vultures also suffer serious injuries during kite flying festivals.
‘Manja’ is often coated with glass or metal to make it sharper. “The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has also issued an advisory to all states and union territories asking them to address the manja threat,” stated the press release.