New Delhi: Twenty-one young brave hearts, between the ages of 8 and 17, besides parents of four children who died saving someone else’s life, were on Thursday felicitated by Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat.
Two Darjeeling high schools girls, who acted as trafficking decoys leading to busting of a cross-border flesh trade ring and an 8-year-old Arunachal girl, who lost her life while rescuing friends in a river, were among those chosen for the National Bravery Award this year.
Gen Rawat later interacted with all the young children and appreciated them for their valour. He exhorted them to continue doing well in life, work hard and be a role model for others.
Two children, including a girl, told the Army Chief about their plans to join the force. The Army later sat down and interacted with each of the children, many of whom wanted to take selfies, which the chief obliged.
Incidentally, as the award ceremony got over, one of the kids pointed out to the Chief that another young boy had not received his “gift” as his name was not called out. A surprised Gen Rawat, immediately held the boy close to him and gave him the bag of goodies that he had given out to others.
The awardees included Tarh Peeju who has has been conferred the coveted Bharat Award posthumously while Tejasweeta Pradhan (18) and Shivani Gond (17) from West Bengal have been selected for the prestigious Geeta Chopra Award.
Tejasweeta and Shivani, both volunteers with a rights NGO, first befriended on Facebook a minor girl who had gone missing from Nepal, and who ultimately turned out to be a conduit in the trafficking ring.
Peeju, who died while rescuing two other children when they were swept away by the current in the Pachin River in Arunachal Pradesh, is among the four awardees to have been conferred the honour posthumously.
The Sanjay Chopra Award has been conferred on 18-year-old Sumit Mamgain of Uttarakhand for displaying outstanding bravery in fighting a leopard to save his cousin’s life.