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No more soaring kites in city

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GROUNDED: The kite business will be a thing of the past with the curb now in place.
GROUNDED: The kite business will be a thing of the past with the curb now in place.

S. Vijay Kumar

CHENNAI: The Chennai police will book under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code anyone found flying a kite within the city limits.

The decision comes in the wake of the death of two boys who sustained injuries while chasing kites in the city on Saturday.

At least four motorcyclists suffered injuries in recent days when the ‘maanja’ (thread coated with glass powder) used to fly kites cut their necks.

“Instructions have been given to register cases under Section 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) of the IPC. Flying a kite is an offence under Section 71 (Clause XIV) of the Madras City Police Act, 1888. This initiative is to safeguard the lives of the people, particularly children,” Commissioner of Police T. Rajendran said.

Though the city police were booking cases against those flying kites, the accused were let off with a simple fine. “They will now be booked under Sections of the IPC that provide for arrest and remand. Such acts of negligence cannot be ignored… parents and elders should create awareness among children on the hazards of kites,” he said.

Police patrol teams, plainclothes personnel and others deployed on security duty in beaches, parks and other areas were told to enforce the norms with immediate effect. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Washermanpet) N.K. Senthamarai Kannan said 18 persons were taken into custody for flying kites with ‘maanja’. Police were trying to locate the suppliers of ‘maanja’ in Chennai.

“In the process of flying kites, children often forget their surroundings. They must not indulge in any rash activity that endangers their own lives and also that of others,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Central) V.A. Ravikumar said.

Asked if flying a kite with an ordinary thread would also be an offence, a police official said ‘maanja’ was being used in a majority of kites. “Flying kites is a form of entertainment. But when strong threads are used to cut the strings of other kites, it becomes a risk to people moving in the area. Flying kites with a normal thread in a secluded place is fine… but the law does not differentiate between ordinary thread and ‘maanja’,” he explained.

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