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National Bravery Award winning children meet President

The children from across the country chosen for the National Bravery Awards for 2009 for their outstanding acts of bravery and meritorious service called on President Pratibha Patil at Rashtrapati Bhavan here today.

In all, 21 children - 8 girls and 13 boys - have been chosen for the awards, two of them posthumously. The children are currently in the capital as part of the 61st Republic Day celebrations.

The awardees included three girls - Rekha Kalindi, Sunita Mahato and Afsana Khatun of West Bengal - who displayed outstanding courage in standing up against the social evil of child marriage and set an example in their community. They had been called to Rashtrapati Bhavan by the President on May 14 last year to be congratulated and encouraged by her for their good work.

Speaking on the occasion then, the President had said that she was very happy that the girls had shown courage in resisting child marriage. The President said the girls’ courage, had had a positive effect on their communities and was leading to more girls resisting child marriage. The President felt that social evils could only be brought to an end through more awareness. It is not only necessary to send girls to school but it is also necessary to give them social education to make them aware of the social evils which they must resist.

A child marriage according to the President destroys at least 10 other lives, as the young child soon becomes a mother, and then becomes victim of failing health due to numerous childbirths, which ultimately, affects the health of her children. This then goes to continue the cycle of poverty from which a family can never recover.

The award winners included Gaurav Singh Saini of Haryana, who has been selected for the Bharat Award, Maibam Prity Devi of Manipur, chosen for the Geeta Chopra Award and Karan Nishad of Uttar Pradesh, who has been selected for the Sanjay Chopra Award.

The President of the Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW), Ms Gita Siddhartha, and the Secretary General of ICCW, Mr S.C. Dobhal, were also present on the occasion.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is scheduled to give away the awards on January 21.

Thirteen-year-old Saini saved approximately 50-60 people in a stampede at the Naina Devi temple. Eleven-year-old Nishad had saved five persons from drowning and 10-year-old Maibam saved several lives when miscreants hurled a grenade inside their shop at Mayang Imphal Bazaar.

The late Ranu Mishra, 10, of Uttar Pradesh has been selected for the Bapu Gaidhani Award posthumously for displaying exemplary courage in saving her brother and his friend from drowning. Ultimately, she sacrificed her life during her determined effort.

Vijith V, 16, of Kerala and Narendrasinh Natvarsinh Solanki, 17, of Gujarat will also get Bapu Gaidhani Awards for their acts of bravery. Vijith saved four children from drowning in river Kallada while Narendrasinh saved his father from the clutches of a crocodile in Dhadhar river.

The other recipients of the awards are Uddesh R. Ramnathkar (Goa), Dijekshon Syiem, Thoi Thoi Khumanthem (Manipur), Zonunsanga, Lalrammawia (Mizoram), Sujith R., Amal Antony, Krishnapriya K., Sujith Kumar P.(all from Kerala), late Dijekshon Syiem (Meghalaya), Vaishaliben Sambhubhai Solanki (Gujarat) and Yogesh Kumar Jangid (Rajasthan).

In keeping with the traditions, the children will also participate in the Republic Day parade on Rajpath on January 26.

NNN

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