Pankaj Mohanta, who had saved three women from drowning, has been selected for the Indian Council for Child Welfare’s National Bravery Award that will be presented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 23.
The 14-year-old Odisha boy from Katulikana village of the Keonjhar district saved the women from drowning. On May 22, three women – Sujita Mohanta, Baijayant Mohanta and Pushpalata Mohanta – were bathing at Bihidala ghat on the Baitarani river when Sujita slipped and fell into deep water.
Two other women impulsively dived in to save Sujita even though neither of them knew how to swim. When they cried out for help, Pankaj, an expert swimmer, who was bathing nearby, rushed over to pull them to the bathing ghat one by one, said district child protection officer Debangana Barik.
The National Bravery Award scheme, initiated by the Government of India and the Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW), was started with the aim of awarding children in the age group of 6-18 years who display outstanding bravery.
These awards are annually given to about 25 Indian children for “meritorious acts of bravery against all odds which will inspire other children with their actions”.