What started as a recreational activity evolved into a sport called “kite fighting.” Courtesy the rising competitive spirit, the Chinese manja is turning more and more lethal in a drive to win. In recent times, accidents involving plastic kite string have been on the rise. These razor sharp strings are, particularly, coated with glass or metal shards are used to cut down competitors’ kites. Also, they catch unsuspecting bikers across the throat, often killing them. Over the years, more than a dozen people and thousands of birds have died or suffered severe injuries caused by Chinese manja. However carefully a kite is flown, the ‘deadly strings’ can unwittingly severely wound innocent birds too that are flying in the air. They somehow get entangled, struggle in panic and then fall on the ground. It cuts their wings, bodies so deep which results in profuse bleeding and often gruesome death if beheaded. Though it has been banned, there is virtually ‘no check’ on its sale in the local markets. Kite flyers usually procure it from a ‘black market’ by paying a premium. Kite flying should be permissible only with a harmless ‘cotton thread’ and ‘natural fibre’ free from any metallic or glass components. Special squads should be formed to raid shops selling these items and strict action must be taken against violators. Kite flying should be banned near main roads or highways so as to avert injuries. Create designated kite-flying zones. Parents should also accept their responsibility and make their wards aware, about harms of the plastic thread. Making it safer will be very difficult, if not impossible. Don’t enjoy at the cost of others as festivals are supposed to be pleasurable for all.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)