Chennai police crackdown on sale of manja after boy's death

Police arrested two people, 23-year-old Pradeep and 70-year-old Kumar for selling manja
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A day after the death of a 5-year-old boy whose throat was slit by a ‘manja’ thread, the police found the deadly thread being sold illegally in Washermenpet and Purasawalkam areas and have arrested sellers.

Police arrested two people, 23-year-old Pradeep and 70-year-old Kumar, after they were found selling manja. They have been charged with IPC section 304 (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and under provisions of the Chennai City Police Act. A machine was also found which converts normal kite thread with manja powder. Soon after the raid began, several shops were shut and the owners went into hiding.

It has also been found that two minors were flying kites when 5-year-old Ajay was killed on Sunday. The two minors have been produced before the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) and sent to a correctional home. The police were investigating in the Washermenpet, Otteri and Pursawalkam to look out for people who were flying kites and found these two minors from Mangalapuram-Otteri Slum Clearance tenements.

According to The Times for India report, the Sembium police told that the manja was brought by the minors from Kumaran Stores on Konnur High Road in Otteri. Murugan, the owner went into hiding after knowing that the manja he sold had killed a child. The shop remained shut on Monday. The police raided the shop and found rolling machine, 330 bundles of manja and 120 bundles of plain thread. Other children claimed that they had brought manja from Washermenpet.

City Police Commissioner S George said that stringent action will be taken on both the sellers and suppliers of ingredients needed to manufacture manja threads.

He told The New Indian Express, “The use of manja threads will be viewed seriously. It is already banned under the providion of Environment Protection Act, 1986. Though kite flying is a non-issue, manja kite flying is.”

The city police had raided eight different locations in North Chennai to find the sales of manja thread.

The manja thread is mainly used during three-month period between Vinayar Chaturthu and Diwali in areas like Vyasarpadi, Washermenpet, Perambut in North Chennai.

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