The term ‘disabled’ has been changed to ‘differently-abled’ but in reality nothing much has changed for those people. They continue to suffer indifference from both the society and government.
On the eve of ‘International Day of Persons With Disabilities’, police in Jammu and Kashmir arrested dozens of differently-abled people for registering their protest over alleged government apathy.
As soon as the members tried to march towards the office of Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, to submit a memorandum, police swung into action and detained 15 members of the association.
President of the association, Abdul Rahid Bhat, said that they were protesting peacefully and tried to lodge their protest with the commissioner.
He said the association was protesting against the non-serious approach of the state government in addressing the problems of persons with disabilities.
As per the study of late Sociologist of Kashmir, Dr. Bashir Ahamd Dabla, the disabled population in the state has doubled since 2001 to nearly six lakh, out of which nearly 1 lakh happen to be children.
These people have been demanding reservation in government jobs, enhancing the monthly pension of INR 400 to at least INR 3000, free medical treatment and free education for their children.
It seems that the apathy towards differently-abled people is not restricted to any particular area or class of people.
According to The Indian Express, Haryana’s Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities has been facing a harrowing time trying to meet his visitors. Why? Because his office is on the third floor.
So he is being forced to meet visitors in the parking lot of his office in Chandigarh’s Sector 17 for the last one year.
Commissioner Phool Chand Yadav, who is visually impaired himself, has his office on the third floor but has no lift or ramp leading up to it.
This is making it inaccessible to many wheelchair-bound visitors who come to him with grievances.
Haryana has about five lakh people with disabilities.
Yadav has been climbing 59 steps of stairs ever since he assumed office on December 29 last year.
He has since been trying his best to shift the office to the ground floor of any building but to no avail.
“Nobody is effective before the government. A person in a constitutional post cannot even protest,” he said.
He also claims to have written several letters to the Haryana Chief Secretary requesting the government to allot two rooms on the ground floor either in the Haryana secretariat or the mini-secretariat in Sector 17 near the Inter State Bus Terminus, so that his office would become accessible to people in need.
On May 12, the Chief Secretary’s office wrote that there was no space available in government buildings in Chandigarh, nor with the secretariat establishment.
Social Justice and Empowerment department was also marked in the mail, which was advised to arrange an office “at the earliest” either on the ground floor or accessible by lift or ramp.