THE National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD), in a statement issued on December 23, has condemned the utter insensitivity displayed by the Delhi Development Authority in demolishing a hostel housing visually impaired students at Janakpuri, Delhi. This thoughtless and callous action on the part of the DDA has left around 25 of the hostel’s inmates to face the vagaries of nature. They have been compelled to seek shelter under temporary tents in unhygienic conditions, at this time of the year when the winter is at its harshest in Delhi.
A team from the Delhi Viklang Adhikar Manch, the local affiliate of the NPRD visited the inmates and extended their solidarity and support. The team consisting of Sherry Titus and Parvez Khan spoke to the caretaker and the inmates. They found that the DDA carried out demolition without any prior intimation and did not even give sufficient time for the students and the caretaker to move out their belongings, documents etc. The students belonging mainly to Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Manipur etc have lost their study material – braille and audio books – that are neither easily available and are costly also.
The NPRD welcomes the intervention of the Delhi High Court and the NHRC and hopes that steps will be taken to provide alternative accommodation to the students immediately. It also demands that the students be compensated for the losses that they have suffered.
HAJ PILGRIMAGE: Discrimination of the Disabled
IN a letter written to the minister of minority affairs on December 27, regarding the blatant discrimination of disabled in the matter of Haj pilgrimage, National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) secretary, Muralidharan, noted that the guidelines issued by the ministry virtually prohibit any disabled person from undertaking Haj.
Sub-clause iii), iv) and v) of Clause No. 4 of the guidelines lays down the following criteria for “Eligibility for Haj”:
“Those who do not have the mental or physical health to perform the pilgrimage.
“Persons whose legs are amputated, who are crippled, handicapped, lunatic or otherwise physically / mentally incapacitated.
“Those afflicted with polio, tuberculosis, congestive cardiac & respiratory ailment, acute coronary insufficiency, coronary thrombosis, mental disorder, infectious leprosy, AIDS or any other communicable disease / disability”.
These provisions that virtually bar any disabled person from undertaking the Haj are in violation of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 which has equality and non-discrimination as its guiding principle.
This discriminatory attitude is all the more surprising since Saudi Arabia does not ban the disabled people from undertaking the Haj. On the contrary, the ministry of Haj has put out an advisory on its site giving information on the facilities available for disabled pilgrims.
NPRD has requested that the above provisions in the guidelines that blatantly discriminate against persons with disabilities be dropped.