When kites soar above Delhi in celebration of Independence Day, brothers Mohammad Saud and Nadeem Shehzad will spend the day in their makeshift office-turned-surgery, tending to the many birds injured because of this pastime.
What frustrates Saud is that Delhi has laws against activities that injure birds, a restriction that sadly exists only on paper during the August 15 festivities. Section 94 of the Delhi Police Act, 1978, states that “no person shall fly a kite or any other thing so as to cause danger, injury or alarm to person, animals or property”, points out the co-founder of charitable trust Wildlife Rescue. In addition, Saud says, Gujarat and Kerala have, in the past, banned the use of manja. However,these restrictions are not strictly enforced.
“From the August 10 to 20, we get 10 to 15 injured birds,” said Saud, which in man hours translates to about seven to eight hours of care extending late into the night and early in the morning.
Jain Temple Charity Birds Hospital manager Sunil Jain adds that through the years, bird injuries have only gone up during the kite-flying season. “With the introduction of Chinese manja, which is coated with plastic and nylon, the problem has only gotten worse.”