Every year, thousands of Indians take to their roofs and to the streets to fly kites on Aug. 15. For many, one of the most enjoyable aspects of kite flying is its competitive nature. The object is to make your kite dive at another in such a way that its string cuts the string of the other kite, causing it to fall. Then, usually, a second game ensues for the gaggle of younger children who have been watching the aerial battle. They scramble to follow the snipped kite as it falls, racing to be the one who can retrieve it for its owner.
In recent years, though, some have taken kite-fighting to a dangerous extreme. Shops that sell kites began importing glass-laced kite strings from China to make it easier to cut others’ strings. On Monday, three people’s throats were unintentionally slit by that kind of string, which is colloquially known as a “Chinese manjha.”