14-yr-old wins Sanjay Chopra Award
New Delhi, January 18
Boya Geetanjali (12) of Andhra Pradesh, who fought armed Naxalites when they came to kidnap a woman MLA, has won the Geeta Chopra Award.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will present the awards to these children on Republic Day.
Priyanka from Haryana and Ramandeep Singh and Pawan Kumar from Punjab have been chosen for the National Bravery Award-2004.
They will all participate in the Republic Day parade on caparisoned elephants. Other children chosen for the National Bravery Award are N. Kandha Kumar of Tamil Nadu, Kumari Majda of Uttaranchal, Lalthanzawna (16) of Mizoram, B. Sai Kushal of Andhra Pradesh, Hotilal (15) of Uttar Pradesh, Khiangdingliana (Mizoram), Mahima Tiwari (Uttar Pradesh), Vinod R. Jain (Karnataka), R.K. Rahul Singh (Manipur), Gopal Singh Sondia (Madhya Pradesh), Johncy Samuel, Sajan Antony, Shiney T.A. and T.P. Krishna Prasad (all from Kerala).
Among the 19 awardees are five girls and a physically challenged boy. One of them will be honoured posthumously. N. Kandha Kumar of Tamil Nadu has been posthumously chosen for the Bapu Gayadhani Award for saving his two schoolmates from an approaching train when their school van broke down at an unmanned crossing. Kumar, however, was killed along with three other children and the conductor of the van.
Two other children who have won the Bapu Gayadhani Award are 15-year-old Kumari Majda of Hardwar in Uttaranchal and Lalthanzawna (16) of Mizoram. Majda rescued six children between three and six years of age from drowning in the Ganga near her house.
Lalthanzawna rushed into towering flames to save his aunt when his house, about 180 km from Aizawl, caught fire.
B. Sai Kushal of Andhra Pradesh, who is yet to turn nine, is the youngest to receive the National Bravery Award. When a wild boar attacked an old woman on Independence Day last year, Kushal continuously hurled stones at it until the animal ran away.
The one awardee who stood apart from all others is mentally and physically challenged Hotilal (15) of Mathura in Uttar Pradesh. He pulled out a woman and a girl from the Yamuna. The woman did not survive.
“These brave children are the future of the country,” said Vidyaben Shah, Chairperson of the NBA Selection Subcommittee, after introducing the children to mediapersons today.
The deserving awardees will be given financial assistance until they complete schooling and possibly even later, said Gita Siddhartha, Secretary-General of the Indian Council for Child Welfare, the nodal agency for selecting children.
No child met the criteria for the Bharat Award, the highest National Bravery Award.