Kite flying has been part of Indian festivities for a while, but competing adults and kids who use ‘manja’ (glass-coated string used tied to kites) may not be aware of the kind of damage they cause unconsciously. Actor Rahul Khanna will now stress upon this aspect of the celebration. And to bring into notice the harm a ‘manja’ can cause to birds, he has sent a letter to the Union Minister for Environment and Forests, Jayanthi Natarajan, on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India.
Kite flying shouldn’t be deadly,” he says, adding, “Glass-coated manja is dangerous to birds and people alike. It slices their wings and feet, countless become entangled, and are severely wounded. Some die a slow, painful death. I was also surprised to learn that children have been hurt or killed by the deadly string.”
The actor, who has kept a low profile in Bollywood for a while now, now urges those who share his sentiment to log on to the PETA website (PETAIndia.com) to further his effort. “Take part in the online action and advance the campaign by sending an email to the Ministry of Environment and Forests,” says Khanna, adding, “By all means fly kites, but make them kind kites. Leave the ‘manja’ out.”
But does sending a letter to the government help? “Absolutely. The government is currently considering a draft, Animal Welfare Act 2011, as an update to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, which was enacted more than 50 years ago! If passed, this legislation will significantly increase the currently weak penalties for cruelty to animals.”