In Advance Of Independence Day, Central Government Animal Welfare Board Advises States to Ban Deadly Manja

For Immediate Release:
6 August 2013

Sachin Bangera (0) 98201 22561; [email protected]
Mansi Rawal (0) 9167907382; [email protected]

PETA Convinces Board to Protect Birds and Humans From Fatal Thread

Mumbai – At the urging of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, has sent a letter to the forest departments of every state and union territory advising them to ban glass-coated, plastic, metal and other cutting forms of manja thread used in kite-flying contests in advance of Independence Day. In the letter, AWBI Secretary S Uma Rani states that killing wildlife is in direct violation of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972; that the manner in which birds die after being gashed by manja violates The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960; and that manja is also deadly to humans. The governments of Gujarat, Mumbai, Chennai and the Punjab province of Pakistan already have bans on manja.

“In order to uphold our nation’s animal protection laws … the sale and use of glass-coated, metal, plastic or other sharp manja must be banned”, Rani writes. “Your action would help safeguard the environment for people and for animals.”

In March after hearing from PETA, the Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden, AK Shukla, of the Government of NCT of Delhi’s Department of Forests sent a letter to the Ministry of Environment and Forests in favour of a ban on manja.

Razor-sharp manja has claimed many human lives, including that of Mukesh Patel, a 13-year-old boy who was electrocuted after the manja from his kite became entangled in an electric wire on 22 January in Mumbai. In July 2012, after the tragic death of a corporation worker whose throat was slit by a nylon kite wire, more than 50 people were arrested in police raids in Chennai. On 5 January 2012, glass-coated kite-flying string slit a woman’s throat in Surat, killing her.

In January of this year alone, animal rights activists rescued and treated more than 300 injured birds, including pigeons, crows and owls, during Makar Sankranti in Mumbai. In January 2011 in Hyderabad, 23 pigeons were killed in one day and approximately 167 injured birds were rescued. A bird rescuer in Ahmedabad estimates that 2,000 birds are injured every year in the city during Uttarayan and that 500 of them die.

The AWBI’s letter to the state ministers of forests is available upon request. For more information, please visit