Raichur, Jan 22, 2020: Twelve-year-old Venkatesh, who won hearts on social media for guiding an ambulance through a flooded bridge during the 2019 Karnataka floods is one of the 22 winners of the Indian Council of Child Welfare (ICCW) National Bravery Awards this year.
Venkatesh was lauded for his act which took place last year in Devadurga taluk in the north Karnataka district of Raichur. After a bridge in Hirerayanakumpi village submerged due to the floods, Venkatesh was seen running ahead of an ambulance which was taking six children and a woman corpse to a hospital in Yadgir. The sixth standard student chose to ignore his friends cautioning him to run for over 100 metres across the bridge which helped the ambulance cross the same safely.
After the incident, Venkatesh said, "I just understood that the ambulance driver was in need of help as he looked confused. As I was familiar with the place, I decided to help him out then. I had no idea whether it was an act of bravery or not."
Venkatesh was then recommended for the ICCW award by the Karnataka State Council for Child Welfare. Among many who recommended him being felicitated aptly was P Manivannan, Secretary of Karnataka Labour Department.
"I am of the opinion that the young student is entitled to be encouraged and honoured for his act of bravery and wish to recommend for considering and including his name in the list of bravery awards in this year. I hope my recommendation will be weighed favourably," Manivannan wrote recommending the Women and Child Development Department to give him a bravery award.
Among other winners is an eight-year-old Arati Kiran Shet who saved her two-year-old brother from a charging cow. The incident took place near her home in Uttara Kannada district.
The second standard student from Navilagon village in Honnavar town was playing with her two-year-old brother when a cow came charging. She picked her brother sitting on the tricycle and fled off the scene as the cow approached them. Her presence of mind saved her toddler brother’s life while putting her own life at risk.
The brave children, including 20 others from Kerala, Uttarakhand, Odisha, Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya and Mizoram will be conferred with a medal, certificate, cash and financial assistance during their schooling and higher education till the graduation for their daring acts.