The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Child run in rights court

Bhubaneswar, May 3: A Delhi-based NGO today complained to the National Human Rights Commission about the 65-km run by four-year-old Budhia Singh that put his life at risk.

“What if the kid had died during the gruelling run' Who would have been responsible,” asked Suhas Chakma, director of Asian Centre for Human Rights. “I was moved by The Telegraph story,” he said over the phone from Delhi.

The Telegraph had reported yesterday how the child had collapsed from exhaustion after running from Puri to Bhubaneswar in the scorching sun, and was exposed to the risk of heart and kidney failure.

“Unless interventions are made by the NHRC' under Article 39 of the Constitution of India, impoverished children in India will be induced to undertake acts of avocations unsuited for their age, endangering life and health,” Chakma said.

The NGO has sought a directive to the Orissa government to register an FIR against sports minister Debashis Nayak, MP Archana Nayak, CRPF additional DIG B.S. Gill and Puri superintendent Sanjeev Panda, who were present yesterday, and Budhia’s coach Biranchi Das and 50 CRPF jawans who ran with the child.

The CRPF, very much the centre of the show yesterday, today washed its hands of the child.

“Our responsibility was to provide him medical cover during the marathon yesterday, which we did. No doctor from our side went to see him today. He has a personal doctor, you can enquire about his health from him,” said chief medical officer Jyotsna Nayak, who stopped the race before it ran out the full length of 70 km after seeing signs of exhaustion.

Budhia, who was woken up at 3.15 am and ran for seven hours, couldn’t get rest even afterwards. After the run, the child had an oil massage, bathed, ate his meal of chhatu and took a 30-minute nap. “We went to studios of some TV channels and he had little time to sleep till 10 pm. Thereafter, we let him sleep,” said an excited Biranchi.

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