GUWAHATI, Nov 17 � Brave young Gunjan Sharma, who had risked her life to save 10 children from the clutches of armed abductors last year, was honoured with the first State Bravery Award today.
Gunjan had this to say to the gathering at the Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra, which hosted the presentation function, � �Don�t always be selfish and please think about others, especially those who are in distress or are deprived. Please discharge your responsibilities towards society too. And always be honest.�
Profound words indeed from a girl barely into her teens. But her small frame hides a spirit that is elevating, and which certainly inspired scores of children who were at the Kalakshetra to witness her felicitation.
State Sports Minister Ajit Singh formally presented the award � comprising a cheque of Rs 2 lakh, a citation, a blazer and a tracksuit � to Gunjan who was accompanied by her proud parents.
In his address, Singh termed the award presentation as a momentous occasion, saying that the government felt humbled to present the first-ever State Bravery Award to a 14-year-old who exhibited extreme courage and the highest standards of responsibility when she volunteered to be taken hostage by the armed gunmen while saving the younger children.
�Hats off to the young child whose act of bravery is bound to inspire all her peers. We are all proud of her selfless and courageous act in the face of adversity, and are also proud to recognize her act through the award. Her act is bound to inspire other children and youth,� he said.
Gunjan who hails from Simaluguri in Sivasagar district offered herself as hostage while freeing ten younger children of her school from armed abductors on December 4, 2013. She spent a night with her abductors in a forest before making good her escape the next day.
A host of sportspersons including those who took part in the last Special Olympics Asia-Pacific were also felicitated and given financial assistance at the function. The women�s football team of Kiyang Khasia Memorial Tribal High School, Hailakandi which won the runners up trophy in Subrata Cup, too, was honoured and given financial assistance.
Debabrata Saikia, Member Secretary, State Level Advisory Committee for Students and Youth Welfare; Ajay Tewari, Commissioner and Secretary, Sports and Youth Welfare, Assam also spoke among others.