Gunjan Sarmah, 14, displayed an act of bravery when she offered herself to be kidnapped to rescue the lives of 10 other kids in the Sibsagar district of Assam on Dec. 4.
The Times of India reported that she eventually managed to escape the dense forest on the Assam-Nagaland border, where her armed kidnapper abandoned her, and reached a house in a tea garden where a worker helped her call police.
"The kidnapper picked up a small girl in the school van who started crying. I volunteered to be kidnapped instead. He clutched my hand and ran with me towards the forests," Gunjan told reporters at her home in Simaluguri.
"We crossed a river and walked through the forest for some time and stopped at one place. It was pitch dark and I couldn't see a thing. I didn't eat anything all night. In the morning, I couldn't see him and escaped to reach a village. The villagers called up police and I was brought home," she added.
The Nazira Kendriya Viyalaya school van carrying 11 kids was hijacked by an unidentified gunman on Wednesday.
The driver immobilized the vehicle after driving into a drain.
The gunman was angered by this and threatened all the kids to follow him. He then picked one girl. That’s when Gunjan asked the kidnapper to leave the girl and take her instead.
According to Indya.Me, Chief minister Tarun Gogoi will reward Gunjan with Rs 2 lakh for her bravery. Sivasagar deputy commissioner has been asked by the government to nominate Gunjan for the National Bravery Awards.
"The education department has announced a reward of Rs 25,000 for Gunjan and Rs 10,000 for the driver," education minister, Himanta Biswa, Sarma said.
Gunjan says the kidnapper, who is Assamese but spoke Hindi, is still at large.
Update: Via the Assam Tribune-
Acting on a tip-off, a police team led by Nazira SDPO Arif Ahmed arrested the main accused in the kidnapping case, Biman Bora (38) from Simaluguri Railway Station at around 7.30 pm on Saturday. Following his confession, the police also arrested Sanjib Das alias Bhaluka (28) from Desangmukh and Anup Dahotia (30) from Chapori gaon in Bokakhat. Police also recovered one .32 pistol and three rounds of live ammunition from the possession of Biman Bora. Police also revealed that this notorious gang had been involved in the dacoity case of November 17 at Maruwari patty in Dibrugarh. Search operations have been intensified to nab the other members of the gang.