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Two killed as ban on kite flying defied to celebrate Basant in Pindi

Two killed as ban on kite flying defied to celebrate Basant in Pindi

RAWALPINDI: The residents of the garrison city on Friday celebrated Basant, openly defying the ban on kite flying and firing in jubilation. During the frenzy, however, two people lost their lives and scores of others sustained injuries after being cut by chemical-coated string or falling from the rooftops.

Most of the victims were motorcyclists and children who sustained cuts on their bodies and were taken to hospitals.

The police, on the other hand, remained busy trying to implement the ban. The Punjab government has imposed the ban on kite flying and firing into the air and asked the local administration and police to take action against those violating it.

“Safdar Hussain, 33, died while going home on a motorcycle when a string cut his neck at 6th Road flyover. Rescue 1122 shifted the body to the District Headquarters Hospital,” said Rescue spokesman Farooq Butt.

A 17-year-old boy, Mohammad Usman, lost his life after being electrocuted while running after a stray kite at Misrial Road, he added.

“As many as 12 patients were brought to the DHQ hospital with minor injuries after they were either hit by strings or fell from buildings.

However, the injured were discharged after treatment,” said the hospital’s Deputy Medical Superintendent, Dr Mohammad Ashraf.

He said Obaidullah, 27, and Mehvish Ahmed, 18, received cuts on their bodies after they were cut by a string while travelling on a motorcycle.

Doctors at the Benazir Bhutto Hospital said they were on an alert to deal with any untoward incident.

During the celebration, a large number of kite flyers and those trying to catch stray kites and chemical twines sustained deep cuts but did not visit any government hospital and preferred private medical centres.

“I was going home at Chaklala Scheme-III from Saddar on a motorcycle when a string fell on me near Jhanda Chichi in front of the Saddar Baironi police station. I was wearing a helmet and remained unhurt,” said Mohammad Yasir, 32.

“It is dangerous to go out as stray strings can cut your neck,” said Asghar Warraich, a government servant, who goes to work on a motorcycle. He said the government should impose a complete ban on kite flying and the police should seal shops selling kites and strings.

Despite police raids and arrests, Suhail Ahmed of Sadiqabad said, people were openly buying kites and strings from the market.

He said from Thursday night loud noise of music and gunshots disturbed the residents of his area.

Shujaat Haider, a resident of Sarafa Bazaar, said shopkeepers were not selling kites and strings openly. He said chemical-coated strings were less expensive and available for Rs100 to Rs300 and kites for Rs20 to Rs400.

“Kite flying itself is not harmful but the use of chemical/metal strings and aerial firing are dangerous. The administration and police should stop this,” he said.

Abdullah Malik, a resident of Usmanpura, said the police had failed to stop the residents from opening fire into the air and selling chemical-coated strings. “The police should take action against the manufacturers and suppliers of kites and strings,” he said.

“More than 200 kite flyers and sellers have been arrested and 20,000 kites seized from different areas during the ongoing crackdown,” said City Police Officer (CPO) Israr Abbasi.

He said police teams continued the crackdown on the kite sellers and flyers across the city.

The areas where people openly defied the ban on kite flying included Banni, Sadiqabad, Waris Khan, Committee Chowk, Glass Factory, Dhoke Elahi Bux, Kohati Bazaar, Raja Bazaar, Bhabra Bazaar, Purana Qila, Ganjmandi, Gawalmandi, Saddar, Kashmir Road, Mohanpura, City Saddar Road, Arya Mohala, Commercial Market, 6th Road, 7th Road, Dhoke Khabba, Amarpura, Chah Sultan, Shakrial, Kuri Road, Muslim Town, Trolley Adda, Khana, Dhoke Kala Khan, Double Road, Faizabad, I.J. Principal Road, Pirwadhai, Fauji Colony, Dhoke Mangtal, Dhoke Ratta, Railway Carriage Factory, Habib Colony, Westridge, Naseerabad, Misrial Road, Chakra, Peshawar Road, Adiala Road, Morgah, Tulsa, Dheri Hassanabad and Lalazar.

Published in Dawn, February 25th, 2017

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