CHENNAI: The ‘manja’ menace has re-surfaced in the city's suburbs near Korrukkpet, as a child (3 years), riding pillion on a bike with his father, was killed after his neck was recklessly slit by a ‘manja’ thread floating in the air.
The tragedy occurred on Sunday evening and two persons including a 15-year-old boy have been arrested for allegedly using the deadly 'manja' thread to fly kites that claimed the child's life.
Police identified one of the accused as Nagaraj (20) and the other, a local teenager.
It may be noted that the victim, Abhinayu, was reportedly on a motorcycle with his father near Korukkupet, when the stray thread coated with glass shards slit his throat. The child began to cry in pain.
A shocked Gopal stopped his bike and saw the child’s neck bleeding, and he was severely injured. Gopal rushed him to Stanley Government Hospital, but could not save his son.
Gopal was riding home with wife and son after visiting a relative in Tondiarpet when the incident occurred.
Soon after the incident was reported, police launched a search and recovered rolls of ‘manja’ thread from several shops. A. Charles (37) of Tondiarpet was detained by police for selling the controversial banned stuff, and was let go on bail, sources added.
‘Manja’ is a cotton thread coated with finely powdered glass and is attached to flying kites. It is a banned item used in kite flying competition to cut off the thread held by another kite flying opponent. Following the unfortunate incident, police have launched a crackdown against shops selling the thread.
It may be recalled that in a similar incident in September 2015, a five-year-old boy riding with his father died in Perambur.
Soon after that, then police commissioner S George, promulgated a magisterial order banning the use of 'manja' or similar threads. Even before the prohibitory orders, the ban on the sale and use of manja had been in existence under section 71 of the City Police Act.
Though the production and sale of 'manja' thread is banned in the city, incidents of motorists and children falling prey to them have been a recurring scourge.
In August, three-and-half -year-old Sarwan suffered injuries after a manja thread slit his throat when he was on a two-wheeler with his father, Saravanan, in Tambaram. In December last year, Dr M Saravanan of Venkatesan Nagar in Kolathur, a neurosurgeon at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, suffered injuries after a manja thread slit his throat at Integral Coach Factory, Perambur.
A day after three-year-old Abhinayu lost his life due to manja thread, North Additional Commissioner Dinakaran issued a stern warning to manja users and sellers. He said that violations of selling or using the banned 'manja', would be detained under Goondas Act. Fifteen special teams have been formed to crackdown against the sale and use of ‘manja’.