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NHRC seeks report on Budhia's run

The CRPF, under attack for sponsoring the event, ordered a high-level probe into the incident.

india Updated: May 06, 2006 13:38 IST

Tiny boy Budhia Singh's marathon effort in undertaking a gruelling 65km run in scorching heat on Friday snowballed into a full-scale controversy with National Human Rights Commission seeking a report from Orissa government on the incident.

Also, the police took him on Friday for a medical examination by the police.

The CRPF, under attack for sponsoring the event, ordered a high-level probe into the incident that has gradually shifted the focus from the five-year-old boy's record-breaking feat to the human aspect.

Taking cognizance of media reports that Budhia Singh was made to run the marathon on May two, the Commission has directed that these reports be sent to the Orissa Chief Secretary and CRPF DG for comments in two weeks.

Considering the media reports which raised the issue of human rights of the boy, NHRC said "if the contents of various reports are true it raises the serious issue of violation of human rights of the child."

A number of doctors had also voiced their concern on the issue saying long distance runs could make heart beat faster to meet the extra oxygen need which could lead to heart failure. Further, they said Budhia's cartilages could face serious wear and tear, ultimately affecting his normal growth.

CRPF Group Centre's Additional DIG here, BS Gill, however, stood his ground saying he had committed no wrong by trying to encourage the child prodigy.

The Orissa police, at the direction of the Khurda District Child Welfare Committee, took the boy this morning to government-run Capital Hospital here for a medical examination amidst protests by his coach and mentor Biranchi Das who first discovered Budhia's talent for long distance running.

The police took Budhia to the hospital 'forcibly', his coach alleged and said the Orissa High Court had granted an interim stay yesterday on any coercive action arising out of the proceedings initiated against him by the Committee.

Unfazed by the negative publicity, CRPF's decision to sponsor Budhia's run on Tuesday and get the time and run recorded by a three-member team of the Limca Book of Records, Gill said "I have done no wrong."

"It was not for my financial gain or personal benefit. I wanted to bring Budhia to light from darkness," he said adding the boy had run the distance between Puri and Bhubaneswar at least a dozen times before.

Budhia had been felicitated by top personalities earlier for his prowess for long-distance running several times but no one including human rights activists took notice of it, he said.

"I am confident that I have done good work. I will not go back on this issue," Gill added. 

While Budhia could not fathom what the fuss was about, his mentor Biranchi Das was suprised why people were not able to appreciate the record caused by his young ward.

"He was able to run the distance and had lot of stamina to do so," Das said, adding he wanted to see Budhia represent India in the Olympics.

But coaches were of the opinion "the manner Budhia was being handled would lead to burnout and possible stunted growth."

Earlier in the day, a posse of policemen, accompanied by a magistrate, drove to the Orissa Judo Association Hall here where they picked up the young runner and took him to hospital for a check up.

City DSP Durlav Chandra Singh, who led the team, said the police had acted at the direction of the Child Welfare Committee of Khurda district.

A team of doctors led by Chief Medical Officer of the Hospital Dr Sugat Kar conducted several examinations and the boy's blood samples were taken.

Dr RSN Murthy (Cardiology), Dr Nirmala Devi (Paediatrics) and a scientific officer of SAI Manabendra Bhattacharya were also part of the team that carried out the examination.

The Minister for Women and Child Development, Pramila Mallick, said that the medical reports were expected within the next two days. "I will forward them to the Chief Minister (Naveen Patnaik) and the home and sports departments for necessary action," she said.

Budhia's mentor had approached the Orissa High Court earlier against the proceedings launched against him by the Khurda district committee of the Child Welfare Commitee.

The court, in an interim order on Friday, had stayed any coercive action against Das arising out of the proceedings drawn up by the committee.