Sakal newspaper employee’s throat slit by banned ‘killer’ manja... dies in Pune hospital | pune news | Hindustan Times
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Sakal newspaper employee’s throat slit by banned ‘killer’ manja... dies in Pune hospital

Death has once again brought to the fore illegal use of nylon manja in Pune.

pune Updated: Feb 12, 2018 16:18 IST
Shrinivas Deshpande
A 45-year-old media professional succumbed to her injuries on Sunday, three days after she sustained severe neck injuries after a stray nylon manja entangled around her neck.
A 45-year-old media professional succumbed to her injuries on Sunday, three days after she sustained severe neck injuries after a stray nylon manja entangled around her neck.(HT Photo)

A 45-year-old media professional succumbed to her injuries on Sunday, three days after she sustained severe neck injuries after a stray nylon manja, a thread used for flying kites, entangled around her neck. Suvarna Mujumdar, who worked in the media marketing department of Marathi daily Sakal, was returning home from office on Wednesday when a nylon manja (thread) caused a deep cut around her neck.

Mujumdar, however, isn’t the first victim of the nylon manja, which has been banned by National Green Tribunal (NGT) and is still being used for flying kites by many residents.

On Wednesday evening, Mujumdar was on Shivaji bridge near the municipal corporation office on her two-wheeler, when a stray nylon manja thread slit her throat, causing a deep cut. A few passers by rushed her to a private hospital, where she had to immediately undergo surgery. On Sunday morning, at around 7 am, she succumbed to her injuries. 

The death of Mujumdar has once again brought to the fore the illegal use of nylon manja.

Earlier this year, a motorcyclist in Pimpri, Raghunath Bhujbal, suffered a cut on his neck after manja which had glass glued to it, entangled around his neck while he was waiting at a traffic signal. Similarly, two-year-old Hamza Khan was also injured by a stray manja. He had to get 25 stitches on the region above his left eye following the incident . 

In July 2017, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) imposed a blanket ban on nylon and synthetic manja as it posed a serious threat to humans and animals. However, many small vendors in the city are still selling it openly, said Manoj Oswal, animal welfare officer at Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI).

"According to the NGT order, there is a ban on the sale of any kind of nylon manja in the city. Hence, we along with the police, conducted several raids at various shops, especially in Raviwar Peth area, and seized many such manja bundles. According to our data, there is an increase in the number of manja-related injuries to birds as well . NGT’s judgement needs to be implemented stringently to bring down such manja-related injuries," said Oswal. 

According to the Animal Welfare Board of India, as many as 1,100 birds were injured due to nylon manja in 2015, which increased to 1,265 in 2016. In 2017, almost 990 birds were injured due to stray nylon manja.

Asim Sarode, a lawyer at NGT, said,"Any NGT order or judgement, given by any bench, is applicable throughout India. After scientifically assessing the situation, NGT had also analysed the damage nylon threads caused to the environment and only then decided ban it." 

NGT had also directed all state governments to prohibit the manufacture, sale, storage, purchase and use of nylon manja thread.

Police initiates major crackdown on nylon manja

After the death of a 45-year-old media professional due to a deep cut caused by a nylon manja, a thread used for flying kite, the city police have initiated a major crackdown on the sale of the manja, which was banned by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in 2017.

Ravindra Sengaonkar, additional commissioner of police, said, “On Wednesday, we registered a case against unidentified persons over the death of Suvarna Mujumdar. We have, in the past, conducted several raids in various parts of the city and seized bundles of nylon manja. After the incident, we have now given special guidelines to police officials to initiate a major crackdown on the sale of nylon manja.”

Sengaonkar further added that a large number of cases have been lodged against manja sellers by the city police.

At Raviwar Peth, one of the city’s largest markets, sellers have put up three types of threads for sale, including cotton manja, cotton threads coated with glass particles and nylon manja. According to Manoj Oswal, animal welfare officer at Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI),”Nylon manja has disappeared from big markets after constant police raids, but it can be easily found in small grocery shops. The police find it unable to track the commodity as every shopkeeper cannot be checked.”

Oswal further added,”In the case of small shops, more often than not, shopkeepers store the nylon manja inside a small room which is disconnected from the shop. Further, they only sell it to known customers.”

While activists insist on buying a cotton thread for flying kites, people generally prefer nylon thread as it is unbreakable and is the most suited for games such as the kite-flying competition, which is won by breaking your opponents manja.

In Pune, a spool of cotton thread (100-metre) was available for Rs 100 while nylon manja was available for prices between Rs 350 - Rs 900 depending on the length of the bundle.

According to the Animal Welfare Board of India, as many as 1,100 birds were injured due to nylon manja in 2015, which increased to 1,265 in 2016. In 2017, almost 990 birds were injured due to stray nylon manja. NGT had also directed all state governments to prohibit the manufacture, sale, storage, purchase and use of nylon manja thread.