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11-month-old forced to perform solo para-sailing for publicity by parents

In a shocking event, the parents of 11-month-old Niya Nasam forced her to perform a 50-feet solo para-sailing stunt at Muzhappilangad beach in Kerala.

The district police chief P N Unnirajan, who was present at the event, said he would register a case under the Juvenile Justice Act. "When I was asked to flag off (the event), I refused, saying that making a child to parasail alone is against the rules. But they said that one of the parents will accompany her. I believed them and left the place before it began," he said.

Malabar Aero Sports Society (MASS) organized the event. The child who was forced to para-sail is the granddaughter of Safar Ahmed, general secretary of MASS.

MASS defended themselves by saying they had provided training to the infant before the event got underway.

The District tourism promotion council (DTPC) contradicted MASS and said that the event was conducted without their permission. The council later recieved a letter from the organizers who apologized for going ahead with the event without seeking prior permission.

Ahmed said that no rules were flouted. "There is no prescribed age limit for this event in India. Further, the parents of the little girl had given their consent and signed the indemnity bond."

"Probably Niya is the youngest solo para-sailor in the country. It was sad that our bold, successful move was misinterpreted," he said, adding that security measures were put in place to ensure the girl’s safety.

"It's not age-appropriate learning. An 11-month-old cannot learn parasailing," said Dr Sachidananda Kamath, state president of the Indian Academy of Paediatrics.

Niya's mother Safreena Nisam had also para-sailed when she was 8. She is currently undergoing commercial pilot licence training.

Praneetha P, special officer of the Adventure Sports Academy at Muzhappilangad, said rules were sidelined for Niya’s flight .

"According to the ministry of tourism guidelines, the age limit for water sports is 14 years, and for float trips this can be brought down to 10 years. Since the same rules can be applied to aero sports too, this is illegal," she said, adding that the child's rights, too, were violated.

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