Teen fights off leopard, wins award

Teen fights off leopard, wins award

25 children named for National Bravery Awards, two get them posthumously

Seventeen-year-old Arjun fought off a leopard with just a stick when the big cat pounced on his mother while she was feeding the cattle in their home in the mountains of Tehri Garhwal.

Selected for the prestigious Sanjay Chopra Award for bravery, Arjun beams with confidence and wants to join the Army.

“Around 7 pm, I was studying in my room, when I heard my mother’s shriek coming from outside. I instinctively picked up a stick lying behind the door and ran towards the noise.  I saw outside a fully grown leopard standing on top of my unconscious mother,” Arjun said on Monday.

“I first hit the stick on the ground to attract the attention of the animal towards me, and then hit it repeatedly, making it run away from the spot,’’ Arjun added.

Equally courageous is the story of Shivansh. But, unlike Arjun, he can’t collect the award himself. He lost his life while saving one of his friends from drowning in river Saryu in Faizabad.

Recalling the incident, Shivansh’s mother choked with emotion as she couldn’t decide whether to cry or feel proud for her elder son, posthumously selected for National Bravery Awards.

“My son used to go to a swimming pool those days, and was a very good swimmer. One day, the pool organisers told him and his friends that the pool was closed. So he, along with his friends, decided to go to Saryu river for swimming,” said Neelam Singh.

They went to an island on a boat, and then decided to have a competition in which they all had to swim back to the shore, she narrated.

As they were swimming, Shivansh saw one of his friends struggling to stay afloat. He moved towards him and started to pull him along. In the process, the boy got saved but Shivansh couldn’t make it, Neelam said.

According to her, about 250 people watching from a safe distance a child drowning while saving someone else’s life. But no one dared to save him.

Twenty-three brave children from different parts of the country attended an event organised by the Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW) on Monday to announce the names of the 25 children selected for the National Bravery Awards 2015. Out of them, two were chosen posthumously.

These bravehearts will receive their awards from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 24.

National Bravery Awards are given annually to children for acts of bravery against all odds. Instituted in 1957, the awards consist of five categories – Bharat Award, Sanjay Chopra Award, Geeta Chopra Award, Bapu Gaidhani Award and the general National Bravery Awards.

This year, Gaurav Kawduji (posthumously) has been selected for Bharat Award, Arjun Singh for Sanjay Chopra Award, Ramdinthara, Rakeshbhai Shanbhai Patel and Aromal for Bapu Gaidhani Award, and 20 other children for the general National Bravery Awards.

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