For Immediate Release:
8 January 2013
PETA Urges Youngsters to Use ‘Kind Kites’ to Spare Birds on Makar Sankranti
Ahmedabad – An activist wearing a costume of a bird entangled in manja string and coated with blood will hold a sign in the shape of a kite that reads, “Cut Out Glass-Coated Manja, Not Wings”, as members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India will urge children to use manja-free “kind kites”. Their point? That glass-coated manja is responsible for the injuries and deaths of humans and thousands of birds and that kites should be flown using plain cotton string. In 2010, a notification seeking a complete ban on Chinese threads and any kind of sharp strings to fly kites was imposed in Gujarat, but the deadly manja is still sold and used illegally. According to a news report, “On December 29, Jeetendra Thakor, a resident of Karmabhoomi Society in Vastral, was passing by Ramrajyanagar on his bike at 7:30 pm. At that time, a manja got entangled in his throat. … At the hospital, Thakor was declared … dead. It was the first death caused by the deadly manja in the city in [the] run-up to Uttarayan on January 14.”
When: Wednesday, 9 January, 12 noon sharp
Where: In front of GLS School, Law Garden, Netaji Road, Ellis Bridge, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
“Most children naturally love animals and would choose never to use glass or metal-coated manja if they knew that it hurts and kills both people and birds”, says PETA India’s Bhuvaneshwari Gupta. “Anyone who uses cruel manja despite the ban must accept full responsibility for every bird and every human who is injured or killed by this deadly product.”
In January 2011 in Hyderabad, 23 pigeons were killed on one day and approximately 167 injured birds were rescued by animal welfare activists. Pigeons, black kites, crows and barn owls suffered fractures, wing cuts and nerve damage. Also injured were two parrots, an eagle and a cat. A bird rescuer in Ahmedabad estimates that 2,000 birds are injured every year during Uttarayan in the city and that 500 of them die from their injuries.
Manja is also deadly to human residents. During Uttarayan in January 2010, several people died and nearly 250 others were injured in Gujarat alone. One fatality occurred when a manja string became entangled around an Ahmedabad resident’s throat. The 30-year-old man bled to death before he could seek medical attention. In Chennai, flying kites in residential areas is now a non-bailable offence. The ban went into effect in 2007 after an 8-year-old boy died after being cut by manja. In 2011, the chief justice of Pakistan banned manja in the Punjab province.
For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com. A copy of PETA India’s report on damage caused by manja is available upon request.