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A Round Table Discussion on "Human Rights of the Persons with Disabilities in India"

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

It was organized 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 the gathering Mr Dhinesh said this meeting was the first one by Social Cause after the pandemic and needed of the honor one.

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

accordingly and disability conditions can be prevented. Many public institutions like government offices and schools are not disabled-friendly. Disabled can not access toilets in schools, he said. Human Rights are 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 the open category, our office showed it as recruited under reservations for the disabled. In another incident, a senior official ridiculed providing a lift and suggested using a service lift. The discrimination against the disabled is continuing in every aspect of life he said. Ramps which are provided for the benefit of the disabled are not much helpful to the disabled, he added.

This meeting comes with 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 an 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 ridiculed us and we approached the 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 the 2011 census, 10.5 lakh are disabled in Telangana and now it must be 20 lakhs. But the ground reality is there is 80 lakh as one disabled in a house means three other family members are also discriminated, affected, he explained.

In recent elections in Himachal Pradesh, just 34000 voters changed the outcome of the election. We with 80 lakh voters in Telangana 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. The only way to get rights is to ask, and 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 a hundred people attended the panel discussion.


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