The IMA has written to Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav for a ban on all forms of manjha in the country, in line with PETA's appeal against the use of 'Chinese manjha' and cotton kite strings reinforced with glass powder.
Highlighting the growing threat to public health posed by manjha, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) said a nationwide policy was needed prohibiting all forms of sharp kite strings.
"As doctors, we can attest that cotton threads coated with glass, metal or any other sharp material are dangerous and can cause injury or death to humans as well as birds," Dr Sharad Kumar Agarwal, national president of the IMA, said in the letter sent on February 14.
As such, states and Union territories such as Chandigarh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Telangana, and Tripura are issuing orders prohibiting all forms of manjha, including cotton threads coated with glass, metal or other sharp materials, the IMA said.
While this is a start, a nationwide policy is needed to prohibit all forms of sharp kite strings, it added.
"Kite flying can be enjoyable for all with plain cotton strings. May we please request that your good ministry prohibit all forms of manjha nationwide," the IMA asked in the letter.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India thanked the IMA for addressing the threats posed by manjha.
"We are grateful to the Indian Medical Association for addressing the dangers posed by cotton kite strings reinforced with glass powder and metal in addition to nylon 'Chinese' manja. Humans, including children, and animals stand no chance against such deadly weapons,"PETA India advocacy officer Farhat Ul Ain said.
People have lost their lives to the lethal strings, the IMA said in the letter.
In just the last few weeks, manjha has killed an 11-year-old child in Nagpur, a two-year-old in Bhavnagar, a 47-year-old man in Bhiwandi, a 45-year-old man in Pune, a 35-year-old man in Nadiad, a 30-year-old man in Vadodara, a 52-year-old man in Surat and a three-year-old child in Mehsana. It has seriously injured countless others, it added.
In January 2023, over 10 people died from manjha in Gujarat, and 1,281 accidents were reported in the state between January 14 and 15, Ain said.
An 11-year-old boy in Jalandhar recently sustained burn injuries to nearly 90 per cent of his body after his metal-coated kite string came in contact with an overhead high-tension wire, she said.
In another incident, a man wearing a balaclava, a helmet with a visor, and hand gloves was still unable to escape injury from manja when thread coated with powdered glass flew across his visor, Ain said.
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