For Immediate Release:
16 August 2019
Nikunj Sharma; [email protected]
Hiraj Laljani; [email protected]
Participants Used Only Plain Cotton Treads Free From Any Sharp Coating
Delhi – After receiving a call from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India about the hazards of using sharp manja, and the fact that it’s illegal as per a Delhi government order, E-O-D, the biggest adventure park in Delhi, decided to make the kite-flying festival held from 14 to 16 August at the park at Sanjay Lake completely manja-free. The festival distributed only plain cotton threads, also called saddi, to participants.
“E-O-D has set a fantastic example of being a compassionate company which cares for both humans and birds,” says PETA Associate Director of Policy Nikunj Sharma. “Most people would choose plain cotton kite strings if they knew that doing so could spare fellow humans, birds, and other animals serious injuries and death.”
Following tips from PETA India, Delhi police this year have seized hundreds of kilograms of manja (sharp kite-flying string often made of cotton thread laced with glass, metal, or other sharp materials) from various shops in Sadar Bazaar, Bara Hindu Rao kite market, and Madhu Vihar markets in Delhi. For the first time, police registered offences against sellers under Section 5 of the Environment Protection Act (EPA), 1986, for violation of the 10 January 2017 Gazette notification of the Delhi government banning the sale, production, storage, supply, importation, 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 a cotton thread free of any materials designed to increase its sharpness or strength.
“Since manja kills both humans and birds every year, being the biggest adventure park in Delhi, we feel it is our moral responsibility to ensure the celebration is fun-filled yet safe for humans and birds. Hence, after discussing with PETA India, we decided to allow the use of only plain cotton threads free from any sharp coating at the kite festival,” says Apoorv Babbar, director of E-O-D.
Thousands of birds are killed every year when they’re cut or trapped by manja, which can get caught on trees or buildings for weeks. On 15 August, a boy was seriously injured after his throat was slit by manja in the Mayur Vihar area. In February, a motorcyclist died in the Timarpur area after his neck had been slashed by sharp manja. In July, a 3-year-old girl died after a stray piece of manja cut her uncle’s neck, causing the motorcycle they were riding to crash.
Selling manja is punishable under Section 15 of the EPA, including by up to five years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh, or both, and the Delhi government’s notification authorises officers of the rank of sub-inspector and above to take action against sellers and buyers of the banned string.
Last year, after receiving complaints from PETA India, Delhi police seized about 100 kilograms of manja from various shops in Lal Kuan kite market (near Chandni Chowk) and Chand Mohalla in Gandhi Nagar, East Delhi.
PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way” – opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.