Tuesday, January 23, 2018

An Open Letter to Major General G.D. Bakshi

An Open Letter to Major General G.D. Bakshi

We disabled persons and their representative organisations are aghast at the deplorable manner in which a decorated soldier like you conducted himself on a TV show.
While you were participating in a discussion on a news channel, consequent to the Supreme Court order of January 9 disposing off a petition in the matter of our national anthem, you sought to cast aspersions on, or rather doubt the patriotism of a disabled person, Arman Ali, who is a wheelchair user and a disability rights activist. You not only made a brutish attempt to shout him down but also asked him whether he can prove his patriotism by keeping his hand on his heart while the anthem is played. We are clueless of who has prescribed this new form of display of one’s patriotism and love for the nation? Sadly, you were not even willing to listen to his point of view.
With all respect to the army/military, serving and ex-soldiers, their courage, valour, sacrifice and service, such uncalled for shouting against and humiliation of a disabled person cannot be tolerated, least of all from a person who had acquired such a high position in the army. Such contempt for a fellow citizen from an ex-soldier unfortunately shatters our faith in the very institution you were part of.
You would be informed that the Supreme Court while modifying its earlier order and not making the playing of the national anthem at cinema halls before the commencement of a movie mandatory has held that its order granting exemption to certain categories of disabled persons from standing up/being attentive while the national anthem is being played, stays.
This intentional shaming of a disabled person, you will appreciate, is a violation of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. Section 92 says:
Whoever -
“intentionally insults or intimidates with intent to humiliate a person with disability in any place within public view …. Shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to five years with fine.”
Given the fact that there are many misgivings/misconceptions surrounding disability it would be in the fitness of things if you would be receptive to the idea of being sensitised on the diversity of disability. There are things that a person with a certain kind of disability would be able to do perform while another with the same disability or a different disability would not be able to perform. This doesn’t arise because of the lack of any desire to perform any given act, let alone insult.
We strongly feel that the least that should be forthcoming from you is an apology.

Signatory Organisations

1. National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled
2. Delhi Viklang Adhikar Manch
3. Differently-Abled Welfare Federation, Kerala
4. Gujarat Viklang Adhikar Manch
5. Haryana Viklang Adhikar Manch
6. Jharkhand Viklang Morcha
7. Karnataka Rajya Angavikalara Mattu Palakara Okkota
8. Lakshadweep Disabled Association
9. Platform for Rights of Disabled, Odisha
10. Tamilnadu Assn for the Rights of All Types of Differently-Abled & Caregivers
11. Tripura Rajya Prathibandi Sammelani
12. Paschim Banga Rajya Prathibandhi Sammelani, West Bengal
13. Vikalangula Hakkula Jathiya Vedika, Andhra Pradesh
14. Vikalangula Hakkula Jathiya Vedika, Telangana
15. All Kerala Association of the Deaf, Kerala
16. Yes We Can, Delhi
17. Kilikili, Chennai
18. Vidya Sagar, Chennai
19. Disability Rights Alliance India
20. Disability Rights Association, Goa
21. Federation of Disability Rights, Delhi
22. DORAI Foundation, Chennai
23. All India December 3 Movement
24. Together We Can, Ernakulam
25. SICHREM, Bengaluru
26. Friends For Inclusion, Bengaluru, Karnataka
27. Diversity & Equal Opportunity Centre, Bengaluru
28. Sense International, India
29. Sishu Sarothi, Guwahati
30. Umang Foundation, Shimla
31. Shanta Memorial Rehabilitation Centre, Bhubaneswar 
32. Sruti Disability Rights Centre, Kolkata
33. DAF, Kolkata
34. Ankur Advocacy Group IICP, Kolkata
35. Varta Trust, Kolkata
36. Civilian Welfare Foundation
37. North East Network
38. Rashtriya Viklang Kalyan Sanstha , Nagpur , Maharashtra
39. National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) 


1. Vaishnavi Jayakumar, Chennai
2. Dr. Satendra Singh, Delhi
3. Subhash Chandra Vashishth, Advocate, Supreme Court of India
4. L. Subramani, Snr. Subeditor, Deccan Herald, Bangalore
5. Kunal Shankar, Frontline, Hyderabad
6. Anil Joshi, Delhi
7. Dr. Deshraj, Delhi
8. Russel Aziz, Kolkata
9. Jeeja Ghosh, Kolkata
10. Smitha Sivadasan, Chennai
11. Sonu Bhola, Delhi
12. Nandini Ghosh, Kolkata
13. Mohammad Faisal Nawaz, Delhi
14. Bubai Bag, Kolkata
15. Sunder VS
16. Tina Chaudhury Khanna, Delhi
17. Neetu Singh, Delhi
18. Shakeel Qureshi, Delhi
19. Kaushik Sengupta, Kolkata
20. Seema Lal, Ernakulam
21. Mangal Hazra
22. Porkodi Palaniappan, Chennai
23. Tony Kurien, Mumbai
24. Shilpaa Anand, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad
25. Radhika Alkazi, New Delhi
26. Pawan Muntha, Hyderabad
27. Gautam Chaudhury, Kolkata
28. Indraneel Dasgupta, Professor, Economic Research Unit, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata
29. L Jagannath, Mysuru
30. Sameer Chaturvedi
31. Amarjit Singh Anand, Punjab
32. Seema Baquer, Delhi
33. Uma V Chandru, Bengaluru
34. Rajiv Sah, Delhi
35. Jomi John Joseph, Kerala
36. Lovely Grover
37. Neetu Singh, Delhi
38. Arpuda Rajan, KSDCF, Bangalore
39. Nilesh Singit, Mumbai
40. Bhushan Punani, Ahmedabad
41. Meenakshi Balasubramanian, Chennai
42. Pavan Muntha, Hyderabad
43. Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Mumbai 
44. Shikha Aleya
45. Sayyed Mohammed Raza Hasani
46. Subhash Chandran, Advocate, Supreme Court of India
47. Sayan Bhattacharya, Kolkata
48. Panchali Ray, Kolkata
49. Uma Chakravarti, New Delhi
50. Meena Saraswathi Seshu, SANGRAM, Sangli
51. Prof. Ritu Dewan, Mumbai
52. Pamela Philipose, Journalist
53. Hasina Khan
54. Nisha Biswas, Kolkata
55. Mary E John, New Delhi
56. Abha Bhaiya 
57. Rohini Hensman
58. Bittu, WSS
59. Masooma Ranalvi, We Speak Out 
60. Susie Tharu
61. Nivedita Menon, JNU
62. Rimple Mehta, TISS,
63. Runu Chakraborty
64. Chhaya Datar
65. Pawan Dhall, gender and sexuality activist
66. Vandana Mahajan
67. Rakhi Sehgal
68. Dyuti, Socio-Legal Researcher, Activist, Delhi 
69. Nandini Rao, Activist, New Delhi
70. Priyanka De, Presidency University, Kolkata
71. Amrita Nandy
72. Dyuti, Socio legal researcher, Delhi
73. Anita Dixit
74. Kiran Shaheen
75. Sudarshana Chakraborty, Journalist
76. Japleen Pasricha, Feminism In India
77. Saswati Ghosh, Academic & Activist
78. Snigdha Chakraborty, Kolkata
79. Warma Telang
80. Kavita Srivastava, PUCL
81. Radha kant saxena, PUCL
82. Anant Bhatnagar, PUCL
83. Dipa Sinha, Right to Food Campaign
84. Anjali Bharadwaj, Satark Nagrik Sangathan
85. Amrita, Satark Nagrik Sangathan
86. Aditya Shrivastava, Right to Food Campaign
87. Aysha, Right to Food Campaign
88. Ankita Aggarwal, Right to Food Campaign

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