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A six-year-old girl’s plunge to save a drowning baby

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HEROES AND HEROINES: Winners of the National Bravery Awards for Children for the year 2009 in New Delhi on Monday.
HEROES AND HEROINES: Winners of the National Bravery Awards for Children for the year 2009 in New Delhi on Monday.

Smriti Kak Ramachandran

NEW DELHI: A pair of slippers floating in a pond would have gone unnoticed had it not been for the six-year-old’s sharp instinct.

Thoi Thoi Khumanthem, a Class II student of Manipur who took a closer look and saw a child drowning, jumped into the five-foot-deep pond and rescued four-year-old Maison Singh who had fallen into water.

The little girl who showed no fear as she plunged into the pond has been chosen for the National Bravery Award-2009 along with 20 others.

Ten-year-old Maibam Prity Devi, also from Manipur, is the recipient of the Geeta Chopra Award.

This Class V pupil saved the lives of several people when she rushed forward to pick up a grenade hurled at her family-owned shop by miscreants.

“She realised the danger to the lives of her family and customers and took the grenade away from the shop. The minute she threw it away, it exploded and she was hit by splinters,” said her father.

Prity still has a splinter lodged in the leg, but is happy that she could prevent a major incident.

Similar stories of bravery by children, some of whom lost their lives while trying to save others, were narrated as 21 names were announced on Monday ahead of the Republic Day.

Of the 21 children, Deepak Kumar Kori and Ranu Mishra are being honoured posthumously.

“Deepak saw a girl drowning in a water body. He jumped in to help her, but the water was deep and he couldn’t pull her out. All this while people stood watching, my only regret is that while 12-year-old Deepak showed no reluctance to jump into the water, the grown-ups in the village showed no such guts. Had they shown the courage, my son would have been alive today,” said Urmila Devi.

The coveted Bharat Award goes to 13-year-old Gaurav Singh Saini from Haryana, who saved 50-60 people during a stampede at the Naina Devi temple, while the Sanjay Chopra award will be given to 11-year-old Karan Nishad from Uttar Pradesh, who saved five people from drowning.

Master Vijith V (16) from Kerala who saved four children from drowning, Narendrasinh Solanki (17) from Gujarat who saved his father from a crocodile, and Ranu Mishra (10) from Uttar Pradesh who lost her life while saving two children from drowning are to receive the Bapu Gaidhani Award.

The other recipients are Uddesh R. Ramnathkar from Goa; Zonunsanga and Lalrammawia from Mizoram; Sujith R., Amal Anthony, Krishnapriya K. and Sujith Kumar P, all from Kerala; Dijekshon Syiem from Meghalaya; Vaishaliben Sambhubhai Solanki from Gujarat; Rekha Kalindi, Sunita Mahato and Afsana Khatun, all from West Bengal; and Yogesh Kumar Jangid from Rajasthan.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will present the awards at a ceremony ahead of the Republic Day celebrations.

President Pratibha Patil and several other dignitaries will also host these children, who will be given a medal, a certificate and a cash prize.

The National Bravery Awards were initiated by the Indian Council for Child Welfare to recognise deeds of bravery by children.

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