The strings are covered in glass dust that is traditionally used to cut down other kites which cause injuries and deaths.
During India's annual Uttarayan celebration, six individuals, including three children, died after having their throats slashed by kite strings, PEOPLE reports. 176 individuals were hurt during the celebration last weekend due to wounds and falls, Gujarat authorities have confirmed.
Two young girls and a boy aged 7, died after having their throats slashed by "sharp strings." One of the casualties, a two-year-old girl, was riding a bike with her father when she got caught up in the rope, per The Evening Standard. According to a police official quoted by the Press Trust of India, she passed away while receiving medical attention at the hospital.
LATEST: Three children — including a baby — are among six who were horrifically sliced to death after a kite-flying festival turned into a bloodbath > https://t.co/UHtSFzqhGf pic.twitter.com/YVJLFTJ0ct— Herald Sun (@theheraldsun) January 18, 2023
Another victim, a three-year-old child, was walking home with her mother on Saturday when she had her throat cut by a kite string, according to the Press Trust of India. The news agency reported that she was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. The seven-year-old youngster was with relatives and was riding a two-wheeler with his parents after purchasing a kite when his throat was cut, according to the outlet.
Three other persons died in separate two-wheeler accidents in the districts of Vadodara, Kutch, and Gandhinagar. The Gujarat police warned everyone taking part in the celebrations on Friday to exercise caution, especially while using Manja, which are strings covered in glass dust that is traditionally used to cut down other kites. "Celebrate the festival of Uttarayan but be careful while flying kites and don't put your life or others at risk," the police wrote in a tweet.
Officials said that those who died bled to death after the glass-coated, or even metal-lined, kite strings dug into their necks.— CBS 21 News (@CBS21NEWS) January 19, 2023
According to statistics gathered by 108-EMS emergency medical service, 46 persons were hurt after falling from a height on Saturday and Sunday, causing injuries to 130 people. The data also showed a spike in the number of traffic accidents, with 461 instances on January 15 and 820 occurrences on January 14.
Thousands of people participate in the yearly festival, which is held in cities around Gujarat around the middle of January to officially signal the start of spring. India has a long history of kite-flying activities that are customary in other areas of Asia. Even though these many fatalities are seen as a national tragedy, deaths have occurred before during the Uttarayan festival. In 2016, two children also lost their lives as a result of kite injuries, per Evening Standard.
Read about the death of a biker, getting cut by manja of kite. Really sad.— Sanjay Mehta (@sm63) January 17, 2023
Similar danger that I have seen often in course of my walks in Mumbai, are the illegally strung cable TV cables, often hanging low, and with every risk of catching walkers unaware and hurting them!
In the past, PETA has issued comments denouncing the use of Manja in kite-flying competitions. Pigeons, crows, owls, endangered vultures, and other birds are harmed by it and frequently get hurt or killed when they become tangled in it. "I request that you use your authority to ban the production, storage, sale, and use of all deadly kite strings, including those made from cotton threads coated with glass or other sharp materials," the statement says.
Representative Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Tahreer Photography