New Delhi, Jan 23: Two groups fighting for rights of disabled people Thursday staged a protest here demanding the telecast of the Republic Day parade via sign language interpreter in all the major channels of public broadcaster Doordarshan.
The information and broadcasting ministry decided to have sign language interpreters on only three channels – DD Bharti, DD News and DD Urdu – following which the protest was launched by the Disabled Rights Group (DRG) and National Association of the Deaf, said a statement.
Hundreds of people with disabilities, especially the hearing impaired, gathered outside the Shastri Bhavan protesting the ministry’s decision. The ministry is housed at the Shastri Bhavan in the New Delhi area, the seat of the central government.
“Our only demand is to make the telecast of Republic Day ceremony accessible via sign language interpretation on all channels of Doordarshan, especially on DD National which has a wider reach online too,” said DRG convenor Javed Abidi.
He said they also protested Jan 20 against the ministry’s decision on sign language interpretation on only the three DD channels.
“We are desperately hoping that the ministry will change its mind. The issue is not technical nor the lack of resources or time. It is simply the lack of will on the part of the ‘babus’ of the ministry,” he said in the statement.
An official earlier told the group that a report on the pros and cons of making all channels accessible was submitted to the Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari. But Abidi said they are yet to hear anything about it.
The group says there are more than 18 million deaf people in India and it was their fundamental right to be treated equally and enjoy the same rights as other citizens.