The skies above Chennai, India are a lot less colorful since police began cracking down on a craze menacing area birds and motorists alike: Kite flying.
The problem isn't kite flying per se, rather the types of kites being flown. In India, as well as many other countries surrounding the supercontinent, the competitive sport of kite 'fighting' is popular in poorer, crowded neighborhoods. Participants angle their kites, intentionally trying to bring down the competition with glass-coated strings that slice their opponents lines called 'maanja nool'. (Note: that's not blood in the photo above, that's a bandaged hand showing red-tinged glass paste).
Unintentional contact with these sticky, sharp strings has been blamed for injuries and deaths of motorists and pedestrians throughout cities in India. Considering the cramped quarters where these games are often played, it's little wonder that multiple injuries and deaths via maanja nool are reported every year.
Kite flying, a $2 million a year industry in India, has been banned in India's Motor City since 2009. The Chennai Kite Manufacturers and Sellers Association recently tried to have the ban lifted, saying those who manufacture the deadly string should be punished, not the kite makers. Regardless, the ban was upheld in the city's high court last month.
They may seem like child's play but make no mistake, these are killer kites. In 2009, two children died in Chennai after chasing kites with the sharp strings. In 2012, a motorist's throat was slit by a maanja string.