Kite-flying, banned in the city and punishable under Section XIV of the City Police Act, continues to flourish. The police say the
threat to road-users, particularly two-wheeler riders, is high in the evenings and at night.
Around 5.45 pm on Saturday, Venkat of Otteri was returning home when he felt a soft thread pass across his neck. When he stopped and checked he was shocked to see blood oozing from a cut in his neck. A piece of thread (manja) from a kite was hanging from a tree on the roadside. Venkat was rushed to the Stanley Government Hospital and treated as an out-patient. The police, who questioned him, did not register a case as he did not show much interest. Venkat was fortunate — he was wearing a helmet while riding.
Flying kites in public places in the city was banned in 2006 after the death of 8-year-old Dasangir of Korukkupet. The boy and his father were passing through Konnur High Road in Ayanavaram when a piece of thread from a kite cut into the boy's neck. He died in hospital later. Recently, a two-year-old baby girl travelling with her father on a motorcycle was injured in a similar incident.
Prakash of Choolaimedu tried to push away a piece of thread from a kite and hurt his hands. "I was treated in a private hospital but did not complain to the police as it was a minor injury."
A student riding her scooty pep to college was injured on the lips and in the neck at Royapuram in another incident. Apart from the usual youth groups, many grown-ups too are involved in the "sport." To bring down a rival kite, a paste of ground glass is applied to the thread to make it strong. The thread, which can snap and hang from a tree or lamp-post and is not easily visible, is dangerous for motorists. A senior doctor at the Stanley GH said: "Such injuries in children are mostly fatal while adults may suffer serious injuries. A deep cut in the neck can affect the food pipe and the victim mave have to be operated upon."
Joint commissioner of police (north Chennai) SN Seshasai said: "We will act if the victims lodge a complaint. We also conduct inspections in slum areas to curb the making of manja thread."