The Delhi government on Tuesday banned metal or glass-coated kite-flying threads after stray strings killed within two days at least three people including two toddlers, all of whom were left with slit throats by the razor-sharp artificial fibre.
The government, which faced flak for delaying the ban despite rising incidents involving kite threads, sought action against the environment secretary for allegedly sitting on a notification for about a week after it was cleared by lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung and deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia.
An official notification said violators will face a jail term up to five years and fine up to Rs 1 lakh.
The ban includes sale, production and storage of the thread popularly known as Chinese manjha, named after the country which produces and exports the cheap and durable strings popular among kite-flying enthusiasts in India.
The sharper the thread, the better the chances of cutting a competitor’s kite thread in the amateur ‘dog fights’.
After the ban, kite flying will be allowed only with cotton threads or any natural fibre that is free from metallic or glass components.
Police said the latest deaths were reported on Independence Day when thousands of Delhiites indulge in the popular amateur sport, which is said to have been introduced in India by Chinese travellers centuries ago.
In the first incident, a thread slit three-year-old Sanchi Goyal’s neck when she insisted on looking out through the car’s sunroof while returning with her parents from a movie. The incident took place at Britannia Chowk.
“The manja had cut through her neck, including the windpipe. The cut was so deep that she died instantly,” a senior police officer said.
In the other case too, Harry (4) had put his head out through the sunroof window when a stray thread slit his throat in the Tilak Nagar area.
The same day, a 22-year-old motorcycle rider died after a kite string cut his throat in west Delhi’s Minawali Nagar.
Earlier, the Delhi high court had also asked the AAP government and civic bodies to issue an advisory ahead of Independence Day making the public aware of their fatal effect.
Animal rights organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India too filed a petition urging the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to clamp a nationwide ban all forms of sharp kite-flying strings to prevent death and injury of humans as well as animals.