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Budhia run flagged down

Policemen stopped the four-year-old and his coach Biranchi Das from leaving the Press Club of Bangalore for a sprint around the Vidhana Soudha.

india Updated: May 28, 2006 01:12 IST

Little Budhia Singh's mini-marathon was flagged down even before he could set off with a bunch of fans here on Saturday.

Policemen stopped the four-year-old and his coach Biranchi Das from leaving the Press Club of Bangalore for a sprint around the Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat, Raj Bhavan, the Governor's residence and back to the club-- a tour of about five km. The run was part of the club's celebrations to mark Women and Children's Day.

At first the police said the club had not secured permission for the mini marathon and that the run would trigger traffic snarls in the heart of the city. The boy was not even allowed walk with his fans from the club to the Vidhana Soudha, a distance of a km.

All that Budhia and the hordes of children, waiting to run along with him, could manage was a jog up and down a cement path leading up to the steps of the club. All along, the boy repeated to the media "I run for the sake of our country," as a battery of TV crews and photographers kept pace with him.

In the evening, Budhia was felicitated along with seven-year-old Kishan, the youngest movie director, by the club. Kishan was tremendously impressed by Budhia's stamina. "We get tired just running short distances. Budhia is strong mentally and physically and he is great to run such long distances," Kishan said.

On the controversy, the Police Commissioner Dr Ajai Kumar Singh said: "We are not against some body running, but they should seek permission." Besides, the boy's 65 run earlier this month had triggered concern about his health and was being investigated by National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) as well as the Orissa Government, Dr Singh said.

However, Budhia's coach Biranchi Das smelt a ploy by the Orissa government to deny the boy a chance to display his stamina down south.

"The Child Welfare Department of Orissa has not communicated me so far in writing that Budhia should not be made to run," Das said.

First Published: May 28, 2006 01:12 IST