Asia Pacific

Indian girl dies after her throat is slit by glass-coated kite string

AFP-JIJI

A young girl riding on a motorcycle with her father in New Delhi has died after a glass-coated kite string slit her throat, reports said Sunday, the second such incident in a week.

Kite flying is a popular sport in India, but has turned deadly in recent years, with people using strings coated in metal or glass to try to cut down competitors’ kites.

The number of deaths and injuries jumps around Aug. 15, Independence Day, when many people traditionally fly kites, which are often painted in the colors of the Indian flag.

In the latest incident, which happened Saturday, the 4-year-old was traveling to a temple in the Indian capital with her father when nearly half her neck was cut by the string, the Times of India reported doctors as saying.

A 28-year-old engineer died on Independence Day when his throat was slit by a kite string while he was riding his motorbike, also in Delhi, media reports said.

A 3-year-old boy was reportedly electrocuted after his kite string — believed to be wet and coated with metal — came into contact with an electric wire in the city.

Last month, a 3-year-old died when a kite string became entangled around her uncle’s neck in southern Delhi. The motorcycle on which they were riding hit a divider and fell off an overpass, a TV news station reported.

Authorities and animal rights activists say birds have also been maimed or killed by the strings, known locally as “manjha.”

After a spate of deaths, the Delhi government three years ago issue an immediate ban on the production, sale and storage of strings modified to be razor-sharp.

The government said anyone caught with the strings faced a five-year jail term and a 100,000-rupee ($1,400) fine.

But several neighborhoods in and around New Delhi continue to sell such strings, despite the ban.