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Panel Discussion on Human Rights of the Persons with Disabilities in India held on the eve of Intl Human Rights Day.

A Round Table Discussion on “Human Rights of the Persons with Disabilities in India: Policies & Practices” held in the city on the occasion of International Human Rights Day on Saturday.  It was held at SundarayyaVignanaKendram, Bagh Lingampally, Hyderabad

It was organised by Social Cause, a Hyderabad based NGO.  The Panelists included: Dr. G. Bhanuprakash Reddy, Scientist-G &HoD, Biochemistry Division, ICMR – NIN; Sri M. Srinivasulu, President, Network of Persons with Disability Organisations (NPdO); Smt. P. Padmavathi, Pratinidhi, Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust; Sri Patan Ummar Khan, Founder Chairperson, Hellen Keller’s Institute; Sri KasinadhLakkaraju, Zonal Convenor (TS & AP), Rehabilitation Council of India; Dr. Lalitha J, Asst. Professor, Dept. of Education, IASE, Osmania University.

Welcoming gathering MrDhinesh said this meeting was the first one by Social Cause after pandemic and need of the honour one.

Narender, a veteran journalist,  a lead speaker said that it was a historic day as rights are being discussed that too rights about differently abled too discussed. According to 2011 census, 2.1% of the population are disabled. Kerala is the only states which screens every child born for disabilities and treats them

accordingly and disability conditions can be prevented.  Many public institutions like government offices, schools are not disabled friendly. Disabled can not access toilets in schools, he said. Human Rights is a very important and basic matter.

Dr. G. Bhanuprakash Reddy, who himself is differently abled said he was subjected to discrimination in many areas. Though I was recruited in open category, our office shown it as recruited under reservations for disabled. In another incident a senior official ridiculed to provide lift and suggested to use service lift. The discrimination for the disabled is continuing in every aspect of life he said. Ramps which are provided for the benefit of disabled are not much helpful to the disabled, he added.

This meeting comes a great sigh of relief as off-late not even a single forum was found to talk about rights said M. Srinivasulu, who himself is disabled and activist for the disabled.

Though 464 order of the Chief Election Commission issued an order asking to create and ensure enabling barrier free environment for efficient and effective electoral participation of persons with disabilities. But how many are ensuring its implementation. When we reminded an electoral officer he rediculed  us and we approached court and got our rights back explained M Srinivasulu.

Speaking further he said Rights have no value if there is no political will. Disability doesn’t mean just physical. There are 21 disabilities, he said. According to 2011 census 10.5 lakh are disabled in Telangana and now it must be 20 lakhs. But the ground reality is there are 80 lakh as one disabled in a house means three other family members are also discriminated, effected, he explained.

In recent elections in Himachal Pradesh just 34000 voters changed the elections outcome. We with 80 lakh voters in telangana we too can swing poll outcome he said.

Speaking further he added that out of six lakh villages in India, not a single village is disabled friendly one. The only way to get rights is to ask, put pressure. For which he said we must become Democratic Naxalite. He also urged all present in the meeting to be more Twitter active to highlight the plight of the disabled.

Sri KasinadhLakkaraju urged for more meaningful engagement with both governments at state and centre.

Smt. P. Padmavathi said disabled don’t need sympathy. They need opportunities. Though there are legislations introduced from time to time, but for somehow are not being implemented. One such example is Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) has launched Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan) as a nation-wide Campaign for achieving universal accessibility for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs).  But we all know how it is being implemented. According to this every government office must be disabled friendly. Now that more and more government organisations are privatised, the reservations for disabled must be extended and must be applicable to private sector too.

Sri Patan Ummar Khan said everyone talks about rights, but what about our responsibilities. Most educated are not participating in electoral process, not voting. Whereas 80 to 90% disabled are turning up at polling booths and voting Inspite of their deformities.

Dr. Lalitha J advocated that disability awareness must begin from schools. Most of the teachers undergoing B. Ed course are not aware of disabled, who they are, what their rights are.

Hyderabad should have a home for intellectual disabled she said.

Human Rights Day is celebrated annually on 10 December every year. It is celebrated across the globe.  The date was chosen to honor the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption and proclamation, on 10 December 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the first global enunciation of human rights and one of the first major achievements of the new United Nations. The 2022 Theme of Human Rights Day is Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All.

Some of the basic human rights are the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more. Everyone is entitled to these rights, without discrimination.

About hundred people attended the panel discussion.

What do you think?

Written by Ravi Tilekar


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