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Many excesses of the police and military forces go unreported or partially reported. A recent incident of injuring hearing impaired has not been covered widely in mainstream media. According to reports in indian express (published February 26, 2019) , Pune City Police lathicharged agitators with hearing impairment when they tried to take out a rally from the Commissionerate of Social Welfare demanding better education facilities and reservation in jobs among others. About 35 hearing impaired persons were injured in the incident. Another 170 activists working for Maharashtra Dumb and Deaf Association were detained and later released.(Lathicharge on Protesting Hearing impaired Youth …. Chaitanya Mangure, updated February 25, 2019, news18.com). The incident drew widespread flak from the political parties even as the Maharashtra CM sought detailed report from police.

Issues not addressed

This incident once again brings to the fore , problems of disabled not being addressed by the governments. The protesters – about 11,000 hearing impaired youth from across the state – were demanding right to quality education, provision of trained interpreters for deaf students and preventing fraudulent distribution of disability certificates to able – bodied individuals. Many institutions remain inaccessible to the deaf and dumb and many vacancies belonging to disabled have not been filled. The discrimination of disabled is prevalent in many sectors and there has been very little progress regarding welfare of the disabled.

Condemnation

The National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) has condemned the brutal lathi charge on disabled persons in Pune on February 25. It has expressed solidarity and unflinching support to the striking agitators. It has asked the government to engage in talks and concede their legitimate demands and implement the provisions in the act in a time bound framework. (NRPD Condemns Lathicharge on Hearing Impaired…. February 26, 2019, kracktivist.org). Pradip More, the secretary of State Level Association of the Deaf said, ‘ when we tried to take out a rally,the police ordered a lathicharge in which several of our protesters were injured. They also detained some of the youths’. The Nationalist Congress Party Baramati Lok Sabha MP Supriya Sule met the protesters and termed the police action as shameful. The leader of opposition in the legislative council of Maharashtra also sought an explanation from CM. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray also criticised the government.

Apathy

There is widespread apathy to problems of the disabled. This protest reflects growing dissatisfaction of the handicapped youth due to growing unemployment and non- fulfillment of backlog vacancies. Youth who have different type of disabilities are also suffering due to lackadaisical approach of governments. Despite passage of laws for the disabled, it is sad that steps for welfare of handicapped is still a mirage.
As expressed by a politician, ‘ the government is least bothered about their issues. It only wants to win elections and earn money’. Hopefully, the future will not be as bleak as it is now

Sheshu Babu is a frequent contributor for Countercurrents

One Comment

  1. David Kennedy says:

    This is a sorrowful story for two reasons as I see it.

    Firstly, one has sympathy for the handicapped in their struggle for justice, that is, for educational opportunity that is equivalent to that provided for non-handicapped individuals. We all need to earn a living and need training in order to do this. An orderly and humane society would seek to do this.

    The second reason is the willingness of humans to use force against others that are obviously unable to defend themselves. This propensity for gratuitous violence in many humans is a cause for wonder over the weakness of the human brain and bodes ill for human society. The Milgram experiment on ‘obedience to authority’ helped to confirm this phenomenon of weakened compassion against the helpless. Indifference to sufferance is widespread and has been demonstrated so many times, in so many places, in so many different circumstances.
    Sheshu Babu does well to bring yet another cause for shame to our attention. It would be nice to think that those in power will take notice AND take appropriate action.