Differently abled protest, demand amendments in rights bill

New Delhi, Feb 3: Hundreds of differently abled persons Monday staged a protest here demanding the government to pass the Disability Rights Bill after incorporating the amendments demanded by the rights groups of the country.

“The bill in the current form is not just a negation of the already-won rights and the recent judgment of the Supreme Court in the matter of jobs for people with disabilities but it militates against the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which it claims to harmonise with,” Javed Abidi, convenor of the Disabled Rights Group, told the media.

However, the secretaries of the law ministry and the social justice and empowerment ministry Monday assured the differently abled they would look into the demands and include those in the bill if possible, without infringing the law,” said Abidi after attending a meeting with bureaucrats of the ministries.

A delegation of the presidents of different organisations working for the differently abled met United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi and leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, who promised to make best efforts to pass the bill in the upcoming session of parliament starting Feb 5.

“Whenever we meet the bureaucrats, they assure us of the changes to be made in the bill as per our demands but nothing concrete has been done till now,” National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled general secretary Kanti Ganguly told IANS.

“The current Disability Rights Bill framed by the government needs to be changed as the entire definition of disability is wrong,” he added.

He said the current bill does not include all the people with disabilities and restricts them from availing rights and facilities.

“Though we have great hope the bill gets passed with all the amendments in the upcoming session. At the same time, we are scared that if the bill for some reason does not get cleared, there are chances it will be delayed for a long time like in the past,” said Abidi.