Descendants of freedom fighter Laxmi Indira Panda on Saturday staged a protest at Jeypore in Koraput district, demanding expeditious police investigation to trace her grandson, Babula Panda, who went missing on April 16 at the railway station here. Babula’s parents, Surendra Panda and Sujata Panda, were among the descendants of freedom fighters felicitated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Raj Bhavan here. Babula had accompanied his parents to the function. Laxmi Indira Panda had joined Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army in the Rani Jhansi Regiment when she was only 14 years old, and fought against the British for the country’s Independence. Separated at stationJust an hour before Babula and his parents were to board the Hirakhand Express from Bhubaneswar to return to Jeypore, the three got separated at the railway station. While Babula’s father Surendra Panda reached Jeypore a day later, his mother Sujata Panda boarded a wrong train and landed in Balasore, from where she was rescued. But Babula could not be traced.Subsequently, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik directed the police to find Babula, but the police had made no headway till Saturday. “It is duty of the government to find our son,” said Ms. Panda.
Scores of students are expected to participate in the annual Youth Forum, scheduled for Friday (November 2) at the St. Andrew Parish Church Hall, 16 Ellesmere Road. The event, organised by the National Child Month Committee (NCMC), will get underway at 9:00 a.m. To be held under theme: ‘Jamaica 50: Let’s Celebrate Our Children,’ the forum will include presentations from the Wolmer’s Girls and Penwood High Schools on the topic:‘Care and Protection for our Children during the Past 50 years’, while St. George’s College and Ardenne High School will be looking at the topic: ‘Recognition and Celebration of the Achievements of Our Children during the Past 50 Years’. Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, is schedule to bring greetings, while Principal of Wolmer’s School for Girls, Colleen Montague, will be the guest speaker. The annual Youth Forum is one of several activities organised by the NCMC to mark Child Month. It provides an avenue for children to voice their views on issues that affect them. “Children should be encouraged to express their ideas about issues that affect them and the environment must be created for children to learn about their rights and responsibilities and also how to overcome challenges that impede their success,” said Chair of the NCMC, Dr. Pauline Mullings, in an interview with JIS News. Initially a Child Month activity in May, the Youth Forum was moved to November as the NCMC is committed to organising year-long activities geared towards the nation’s children as well as for the observance of National Youth Month. The NCMC, instituted in 1953, brings together a number of agencies working with and on behalf of children in an effort to focus on their needs, and heighten public awareness on the relevant issues affecting the nation’s children.