By Priscilla Vanrammawi
Saikot/Imphal (zoramobserver.com): Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh today handed over the Jeevan Raksha Padak award to Master John Lalditsak at his office in Imphal.
Jeevan Raksha Padak is a civilian lifesaving award presented by the President, Government of India, to youngsters who showed exemplary courage. John is among the 44 youngsters who were conferred the award in January by the Union Home Ministry.
The boy from Saikot, a village in Tuithaphai valley in Churachandpur District, in 2015 saved three people from drowning at the tender age of 12.
“John often spent his leisure fishing in Tuithapui river that runs to the west side of the village. He was fond of fishing and often caught lots of fishes for his family. In addition, he mastered swimming and he could even cross strong river currents – a feat not accomplished by many grown-ups. His parents had to discourage him from swimming during the rainy season,” said Timothy Z Zote, editor of Manmasi Digest.
In 2015, during his summer school break, while searching for a good spot to throw his bait, John’s courage and grit was tested. “It happened on the fateful day of 12 October, 2015 when Master John (now 15 years) was fishing, he spotted three persons namely Mrs. Lalremkung (60), Saikot, Mrs Tingneihoi (35) Neisial Veng, and Master Lalramthar (12) who were collecting snails being carried away by a swift river current. Master John jumped into the turbulent water at the depth of about 8 feet. He caught hold of the blouse of Mrs. Lalremkung and the other two somehow managed to cling to Remkung’s body. John pulled them all to the shore safely after swimming for about 80 feet wide,” according to a report covered in the English section of Manmasi Digest, Vol. V, Issue VI of 2015 (October–November).
Master John Lalditsak also received a bravery award from Churachandpur District Administration on the 67th Republic Day Celebration 2016. Zote soon took the initiative to apply for a National Bravery Award under Indian Council for Child Welfare, New Delhi. Thereafter, the President of India approved the conferment of Jeevan Raksha Padak Series of Awards 2017 on John along with 44 persons. He is the only awardee from Manipur in 2017.
The Jeevan Raksha Padak series awards are given to persons for meritorious acts of humane nature in saving the life of people. The award is given in three categories, namely, Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak and Jeevan Raksha Padak. Persons of either sex in all walks of life are eligible for these awards. The award can also be conferred posthumously.
The decoration of the award (medal, a certificate signed by the Home Minister and Rs 1 lakh lump sum monetary allowance) is presented to the awardee in due course by the respective State Government to which the awardee belongs.
“It may be mentioned that due to the hard work and sincerity of Timothy Z Zote, Editor, Manmasi Digest Monthly Magazine that Master John Lalditsak was able to receive this award. We are very proud of them for their great contribution to the society,” Manmasi Digest Editorial Board said in a statement.