Hundreds of disabled march for rights in Delhi

Friday, December 3, 2010

NEW DELHI - Hundreds of differently-abled people from across the country participated in a protest march near India Gate in Delhi Friday on the occasion of World Disability Day and demanded fulfilment of their rights.

Javed Abidi, chairperson of the National Centre for Promotion of Employment of Disabled People (NCPEDP) who organised the protest, said: “We have been demanding a separate ministry for the disabled population for long now. The issue of disability is a part of the social justice and empowerment ministry at the moment but is hardly on the radar of the minister.”

“While the census of 2011 will draw up a clearer number, the estimated number of disabled people in the country is about 70 million, or six-seven percent of India’s population which is a big number. There is a lack of political will in taking up the issues of the disabled population and, therefore, a separate ministry is a must,” Abidi told IANS.

The marchers also demanded speedier action on the new disability law to replace the “archaic” one and whose draft has been in the making for a almost a year now, he added.

Even as they protested, the disabled did not lose out on the chance to mark the occasion. An extensive cultural programme - complete with dance and songs - was organised in the morning in which people participated with a lot of enthusiasm.

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