Delhi Police and PETA India Seize Banned Manja Ahead of Independence Day

Posted on by Sudhakarrao Karnal

Following complaints from PETA India that dangerous and illegal manja was being sold in Delhi markets, Delhi police – along with PETA India – conducted a raid in Lal Kuan Bazar. During the raid, several kilograms and over 50 spools of illegal manja were seized, and a complaint was filed against the offenders under Section 5 of the Environment Protection Act (EPA), 1986. The 10 January 2017 notification from the Delhi government in the The Gazette of India prohibits the production, storage, supply, importation, sale, and use of all forms of manja. The ban exists in order to prevent harm to humans, birds, and other animals as well as the environment. The notification permits flying kites only with cotton thread free of any materials designed to increase its sharpness or strength.

In August 2021 – after receiving complaints from PETA India – Delhi police seized a sizeable number of manja spools from South Delhi, and in 2020, it seized about 100 kilograms of manja from various shops in Chand Mohalla. In 2019, similar raids were conducted in Sadar Bazar and Bara Hindu Rao in North Delhi and Madhu Vihar in East Delhi. Several complaints were filed under Section 5 of the EPA, 1986, which has a provision for a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh and a jail term of up to five years.

Manja, in all its forms, puts humans, birds, other animals, and the environment at risk. Razor-sharp strings, reinforced with glass powder and metal, cause human injuries and many senseless deaths every year. Just this week, a Zomato delivery agent died after dangerous manja snagged his bike’s tyre and hurled him into oncoming traffic. Earlier this year, a motorcyclist – despite wearing a balaclava, a helmet with a visor, and gloves – was unable to escape injury when manja coated with powdered glass flew across his visor. Also this year, a young man was severely injured after a glass powder–coated kite string cut his neck open. A 7-year-old boy had a narrow escape when he put his head out the sunroof of his family’s car and got entangled in stray manja, suffering serious neck and eye injuries.

The harmful thread also has a disastrous impact on bird populations. The wings of birds are often slashed or even cut off by manja. Their feet have also been cut off by the string, and they frequently escape wounded, so rescuers cannot help them.

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