On way to get bravery award, Assam girl injured in accident

Guwahati, Jan 1 : Gunjan Sharma, a 14-year-old student who was on her way to receive a state bravery award instituted in her name, was injured along with five other members of her family in a road accident Wednesday, officials said.

The Gunjan Sharma State Bravery Award was instituted in her name by the Assam government after the teenager saved the life of 10 children by offering herself as hostage to a gunman who hijacked a school van with the 11 students.

The award ceremony was scheduled to be held at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the ITA cultural complex in Guwahati.

"The vehicle in which Gunjan and five others of her family were travelling met with an accident near Hatikhuli near Bokakhat town around 2.30 a.m. They were shifted to the Jorhat Medical College and Hospital," said an official of the Jorhat district administration.

All six people, including Gunjan, received multiple injuries.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi later visited the hospital and met the brave girl and her family members.

Gogoi said the government will bear the expenditure for the treatment of Gunjan. The government will also arrange for sending her outside the state for better treatment, if required.

On Dec 4, a gunman hijacked a school van carrying 11 children, including Gunjan, at Simaluguri along the Assam-Nagaland border in Assam's Sivasagar district.

When the gunman wanted to take someone hostage after abandoning the van near a tea estate, Gunjan offered herself as hostage and saved the 10 other students.

She was later recovered by police the next day from near a tea estate. Subsequently, police also arrested the gunman and an accomplice.

Gogoi earlier said Gunjan's bravery was a matter of pride not only for her family, but also for the state and the country. The state government announced the annual state bravery award, which comprises Rs.2 lakh, a citation and a memento.

The government Wednesday postponed the state bravery award function for an indefinite period.

--IANS (Posted on 01-01-2014)

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