‘Govt’s claims of our empowerment nowhere visible on ground’; official denies, says ‘they’re benefiting from various schemes’
Srinagar, Dec 02 : On the eve of World Disability Day, the specially-abled persons said they are “not considered as humans” both by the government as well as society. They demanded proper rights and said that the claims being made by the government were nowhere visible on the ground.
Speaking with the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), Javed Tak, a specially-abled person from south Kashmir, who bagged the Padma Shri award last year, said it is unfortunate that people with disabilities have to protest on World Disability Day to press for their rights. Such protests on a particular day depict our plight, he said.
“World Disability Day is not to extend charity. It is the day to boost the capabilities of persons with disabilities and ensure their inclusion in all spheres of life,” he added.
Tak said the rights guaranteed to them under the Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 are not being implemented. “Despite the Accessible India campaign launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there is no accessibility for us, as under this scheme, minor works were conducted at some places but most of the money got lapsed,” he claimed.
Javed said the government should have at least issued a circular regarding ensuring all new buildings are accessible for disabled persons by providing suitable facilities like ramps, lifts, and other things to them. He said that in the absence of these facilities, the community is being pushed to the wall.
“There are no special educators, no disabled-friendly washrooms in schools, no teaching material. How can disabled persons go to school?” he asked, adding that there is a four percent reservation of jobs for disabled persons and that too is missing on the ground.
In most cases, government officials are not aware of the rights of disabled persons, Tak said, adding that the community has been exempted from exam fees but they are being asked to submit fees and even clerks don’t have any information about it.
The main aim of celebrating World Disability Day is to find out their problems and solve them by next year so as to celebrate achievements, but everything here is going in the reverse direction, he said.
“We aren’t even accepted as humans,” Tak lamented. As per the rules, the government has to provide full assistance to the disabled persons with regard to medicines and other related things, but that is not being done, he said.
Waqar Ahmad, another specially-abled person, said the government must work on the accessibility of physical as well as online infrastructure, recruit permanent special educators, arrange scribes, and ensure reservations as per the rules.
“We are being discriminated against at all levels, and civil society and religious clerics have to play a role in making people aware of our rights in religion and constitution so that no one can ill-treat us,” he said.
Many other PWDs said that disabled persons are getting more than Rs 3,000 in various States, but in J&K, they are getting just Rs 1,000 per month.
There are orders, circulars and court orders in place for the welfare of the disabled, but those are not being implemented on the ground,” said a specially-abled person.
Meanwhile, an official of the Social Welfare Department said that disabled persons are benefiting from different schemes like monthly pensions, scholarships and prosthetic aids.
“They are getting job reservations as per the rules. The government has been making all important buildings disabled-friendly, and work on ramps, lifts and other things is going on,” he said.
“The main aim of celebrating this day is to change the attitude of people towards disabled persons as they are part of society,” the official said, adding, “The government is committed to the welfare of disabled persons, and everyone must play a positive role in it.”—(KNO)