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Orissa puts brakes on Budhia's walkathon

Officials prevent the 500-km walk acting on a ban imposed by the child welfare panel, reports S Pattnaik.

india Updated: Jun 06, 2007 19:36 IST
Soumyajit Pattnaik
Soumyajit Pattnaik
Hindustan Times

Officials in Orissa on Wednesday stopped boy marathon runner Budhia Singh from attempting a 500-km walkathon from Bhubaneshwar to Kolkata.

The Bhubaneshwar superintendent of police and the Khurda district collector led a large number of policemen to the State Judo Hall in the city to prevent the start of his long walk from there.

The officials said they were acting on the orders of the Khurda Child Welfare Committee that had banned the grueling walk by the child, barely five years of age.

Budhia's coach Biranchi Das, who had planned to go ahead with the walk in defiance of the ban orders, said he would go to court against the district administration's action.

The coach also vented his ire against the Child Welfare Committee saying it seemed to be only bothered about Budhia when its primary job was to work for the welfare of deprived and neglected children most of whom begged on the roads.

Khurda SP Amitabh Tahkur said the police had to implement the ban order of the CWC, a statutory body formed in districts, under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.

Speaking to HT earlier, CWC chairperson RS Mishra had said, "We have no problems if adults participate in this 500-km walk. But we cannot allow a child to walk such a distance. We have issued orders imposing a ban to the Budhia Singh Trust, which is organising this walk."

Coach Biranchi had earlier resigned from the trust on Monday. Following the ban, Biranchi, along with other members of the trust, could have become liable to punishment under the Juvenile Justice Act for causing or abetting "cruelty to a child".

The boy became a celebrity last year after he earned a place in the Limca Book of World Records for his 65-km run between Puri and Bhubaneswar. He, however, had collapsed due to exhaustion at the end of the race, which led to allegations of exploitation of the child for personal fame against the coach.

Budhia runs 45 kms twice a week and 20 kms on other days.

First Published: Jun 06, 2007 10:45 IST