Activists rescue a pigeon injured from a kite string in Vadodara on Wednesday. Express Photo by Bhupendra Rana. 13.01.2016.

Many birds get hurt during the kite-flying ritual during Sankranthi festivities after getting entangled in glass-coated thread or ‘manja’. Even as people take to rooftops and terraces to fly kites on Sankranthi, animal activists fear that the strings could injure birds.

The glass-coated ‘manja’, which is used by many to fly kites, often cause cuts on birds, which often turns out to be fatal in most cases. With many kite-flying enthusiasts competing with each other to have a superior sharper manja, thousands of birds fall prey every year to this kite-flying ritual.

Sankranti is here and everyone is in merriment mood. Rangoli competitions and festival shopping are on full swing and lakhs of people who work and do business in the State capital are busy boarding buses and trains to reach their hometowns to share the happy moments with their family and friends.

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Also children and youth are busy flying kites across the length and breadth of the State, oblivious of the perils involved in the act. Every year, there are reports of casualties due to careless kite flying but the most annoying fact is thousands of birds are being fallen prey to negligence of kite flyers.

Sahayog Organisation, a youth-based activist group and association founded to work for animal rights and welfare on animals, is busy spreading awareness among people about the dangers of kite flying. The group speaks on behalf of all animals that are being victims of abuse, beating, ill treatment, captivity, over loading and all types of cruelty.

In every January, Hyderabad sacrifices thousands of birds to the thrill of kite-flying festival. The festival of kite flying is popularly known as Makar Sankranti and this traditional festivity proves fatal for thousands of innocent flying creatures. Injuries to birds are mainly caused by Chinese manja, glass coated threads that cut though flesh and bones of these birds. Birds brought to the camp have deep cuts, injuries and even glass pieces embedded in their bodies.

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With more kites competing for space with birds, the number of hits has risen over the years. What makes the matter worse is that people continue to use dangerous strings, totally disregarding the harm they cause to the birds. Kite strings are coated with colours and powdered glass to make deadly manja.

Not all birds entangled in manja are lucky enough to be rescued. Many birds as well as humans have been seriously injured by manja. Sahayog Organisation urged the citizens to follow certain Do’s and Don’ts during the kite flying festival. “Do not fly kites using Chinese manja and glass coated manja.

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The compassionate solution is not to fly kites at all or shift to the simple thread without any glass and iron coatings. Always dispose the left over pieces of manja in a more careful manner so that the birds are not entangled in the manja,” said Sahayog activists.

“Fly your kites on open grounds. Never turn a blind eye on an injured bird; please call us for help or report birds found hanging from trees to our Helpline No. 9394005600. Bring injured birds to the nearest veterinary doctor or to the nearest Pigeon Treatment Centre.

For details, contact our helpline. Volunteers from Sahayog Organisation and Bharatiya Prani Mitra Sangh, will be on move on two-wheelers in and around Hyderabad city and attend to the injured birds till January 16 morning,” they said. #KhabarLive

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