Teenagers Babita (17) and Amarjeet (15), who swung into action to save their schoolmates when their bus fell into a canal, and high school student Meher, who fought off the murderer of her grandmother and younger brother, are among the recipients of this year's National Bravery Awards for Children.
The young awardees comprise one of the most endearing sights of the Republic Day parade, mounted on gorgeously caparisoned elephants.
In the 50th year of the awards, there are 22 recipients - 18 boys and 4 girls - of the awards, instituted by the Indian Council for Child Welfare. Four awards were selected posthumously.
Interacting with mediapersons, some awardees like Meher did confess to some fear, but steadfastly expressed their determination to rise above it and accomplish the 'right act'. For the kin of the posthumous recipients, like the parents of the late Abhishake (6) and Suraj (9), who lost their lives while trying to save a six year cousin from drowning, their tears or sense of loss was matched by the pride at their children's bravery.
The prestigious Bharat Award has been conferred on Babita and Amarjeet, students of Satkumbha Vidya Mandir in Kheri Gujjar village, Sonepat. Rater then escape themselves when their bus fell into the Western Yamuna Canal in August 2006, they helped the driver rescue the children, saving over half a dozen between them.
Mizo girl Lalrempuii (14), who resisted a rapist at the cost of her own life, is the posthumous recipient of the Geeta Chopra Award, while six-year-old Yuktarth Shrivastava of Rajnandgaon in Chhattisgarh, has been conferred the Sanjay Chopra Award for fearlessly fending off stray dogs attacking his less then a year old sister, despite being bitten several times.
The recipients of the Bapu Gaidhani awards include 12-year-old Raipalli Vamsi, who saved five of the eight girls caught in a river, 16-year-old Konthoujam Boney Singh, who rescued three boys drowning, and Amol Aghi (15), who doggedly pursued a band of robbers, who mercilessly killed him to escape unhindered.