A 12-year old boy was killed and dozens of others were injured during Basant celebrations on Friday, which continued despite a government ban on kite-flying. Talking to The Express Tribune, a Rescue 1122 official said Faizan, a resident of Chitian Hatian, was flying a kite on a rooftop when he got a shock from a power cable and fell to the ground. The official said he was rushed to District Headquarters Hospital, but succumbed to his injuries.
Moreover, 13-year-old Basit in Bakra Mandi and 12-year-old Maria in Tench Bhata were both hit and injured by stray bullets.
Most other injuries were cuts — including on the necks of some people — caused by the chemical-treated kite string. There were also reports of youngsters opening fire on policemen who were trying to arrest them for flying kites, forcing the police to flee.
Overall, the police registered 20 cases and seized hundreds of kites along with 50 rolls of chemical-coated kite string.
District Coordination Officer Saqib Zafar told The Express Tribune he had spoken to the police as well as local leaders and strict action would be taken against those who violated the law. However, after contacting various police stations, it was learnt that no arrests had been made till Friday evening.
Talking to The Express Tribune, a group of youngsters asked, “Why has the government declared kite-flying an illegal act?”
They said they did not want to violate the law, but the government should encourage such activities to bring an end to the suffocation prevailing in the country due to political and economic crises. “The government should ban chemical-coated string instead banning the festival,” said Muhammad Sajjad of Sadiqabad.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 9th, 2013.