Sunday, September 23, 2018

Outrage builds over Union Minister Babul Supriyo's shocking behaviour towards disabled person

Union Minister Babul Supriyo is known for his abrasive statements. But this time he has gone too far.
At an event in Asansol in West Bengal held to distribute wheelchairs and other assistive devices to people with disabilities, Supriyo lost his temper and issued a shocking threat to someone present at the function. The minister apparently got angry because the man was shifting in his chair.
In a video that has been widely shared, Supriyo can be seen telling the man - "What happened to you? Any problem? I can break one of your legs and can give you a crutch."
The minister then went on to order his security men to break the man's leg and hand him a crutch if he moved again. He even asked the audience to applaud for the man.
The behaviour has been condemned strongly by leading disability rights activist, Dr Satendra Singh, who points out that this is not the first minister in the present government to issues such threats against people with disabilities.
The Modi govt has passed this landmark legislation however its ministers continues to flaunt the legislation. A day after the implementation of RPWD Act, Uttar Pradesh cabinet minister Satyadev Pachauri insulted a disabled employee in Lucknow in which I filed the first ever complaint under the new disability act. Now its Babul Supriyo. The government needs to walk the talk and they should take action against the erring minister if they really believe in sabka saath, sabka vikas. - Dr Satendra Singh, Disability rights activist
The behaviour has attracted angry reactions on social media as well. One person tweeted: "A sitting BJP MP threatens extreme violence on a vulnerable person why is he not ARRESTED @BJP4India." Another person said, "He should be Govt's Recovery Agent, breaking people legs and recovering the loan amount from them."
What is worse is the total lack of regret shown by the Union Minister, who described it as "light-hearted humour".
Source: Newzhook 

Panel to help more disabled people vote in Delhi

NEW DELHI: An eight-member State Steering Committee on Accessible Election was formed on Tuesday to ensure and monitor the electoral process in Delhi.

The committee, which was created on the direction and guidelines of the Election Commission, has been entrusted with the task of mapping persons with disabilities (PwD) according to the poll stations as well as maintaining and updating the data regularly. Also, it has to look into identifying PwDs who are not enrolled in the voters’ list and facilitate the same by planning special camps and sensitisation efforts, and submit a periodic report to the ECI.

The committee comprises the chairperson, six members and the convener. While the chief electoral officer (CEO) will chair the committee, the additional CEO will be the convener. The other members include principal secretary, Delhi government, director, Pt Deen Dayal Upadhayaya National Institute for Persons with Physical Disabilities, directors of department of social welfare and education, Dr Satendra Singh, associate professor, University College of Medical Science, Delhi University, Dr Achal Bhagat, chairperson, AADI, an NGO.

The committee will facilitate creating a barrier-free environment for efficient and effective electoral participation by the disabled, and ensure training for election functionaries by sensitising them on special needs of PwDs, prepare a module on the same, and share with the districts. It would also assess the recommendations of District Monitoring Committee on Accessible Election (DMCAE) on further steps to be taken to enhance their electoral participation, and appoint state icons from among PwDs.

Disabled student has to be carried up the stairs every day as this Himachal medical college has no ramps

Rohit Prasad had always dreamed of studying medicine, an ambition his parents encourage him to pursue regardless of the fact that he has muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair.
That goal saw him achieve good results in school as well as the medical entrance exams. But for Rohit, clearing the medical entrance exam was a small hurdle, compared to what he goes through every day at the Government Medical College (GMC) in Nahan, Himachal Pradesh.
The college is inaccessible, and Rohit has to be lifted along with his wheelchair on the steps. His mother says she has to appeal to the visitors at the hospital to help her lift her son.
A humiliating experience that he is being subject to as the college has chosen to flout Medical Council of India guidelines, the RPWD Act, 2016 and those of the Himachal Pradesh government.
My son sometimes cries and says he does not want to study like this. It bothers me, but I am determined that he not give up on his dreams. He has been a bright student all throughout. – Kiran Prasad
For Rohit, this apathy is not a one-off experience. He first got admission into the Government Medical College, Chandigarh, but when college authorities found out that he was disabled, they turned him down. “They asked me ‘how can your son study medicine when he is like this”, says Mrs. Prasad.
Rohit did not give up and was granted admission at GMC Nahan. Here too, he got similar reactions. But Rohit’s family is determined not to back down in the face of such callousness.
They have approached well-known disability rights activist Dr Satendra Singh for help. As Rohit’s mother puts it, “this is not a fight for my son alone but for all disabled students who want to study medicine”.
Dr Singh, who has been at the forefront of fighting for the rights of disabled students to study medicine, has taken the matter up with senior authorities in the Himachal Pradesh government as well as the MCI. He had petitioned the MCI in 2014 asking for all medical colleges be made accessible.
Dr. Singh says that despite the provisions of the RPWD Act 2016, a majority of leading medical colleges are not making any serious efforts to ensure their campuses are accessible.
“I wrote to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi and the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS) in Chandigarh about making their buildings accessible.. AIIMS responded saying this was a 'daunting task'!”.
The problem, he believes, lies in the fact that rules under the RPWD Act 2016 have not been framed in many states.
“Besides, accessibility in India not been understood. The onus has been put on individuals and that is not going to work. It has to come on the government. We also have to ensure we have trained access auditors, which is a serious lack.”
In the bargain, sincere, committed students like Rohit are being subject to daily humiliations, a violation of basic rights granted under the Constitution.

Student With Disability Carried up Stairs in Himachal Medical College Without Ramps

New Delhi: For the last two months or so, Chandigarh resident Rohit Kumar has been struggling to attend MBBS classes at the medical college in Nahan, Himachal Pradesh. He was admitted to the college earlier this year after securing the 181st rank under the ‘physical handicap’ quota in the all-India medical entrance examination, but the campus isn’t wheelchair-friendly. In the absence of a ramp, volunteers have to lift him up and down the staircases of the multi-level college building.

Though Kumar’s father, B.N. Prasad, had raised the issue with the state health minister Vipin Parmar when he recently visited his residence in Sirmaur district, where the college is also located, the only assurance he received was that the college would make necessary changes to the stairs.

Rights activist lodges complaint with MCI, concerned officials
Disability rights activists, who have been fighting for the need to make all such medical institutions friendly to persons with disabilities, see the Nahan medical college as a clear cut violation of the Medical Council of India’s (MCI’s) guidelines to make all the medical colleges disability-friendly.

In view of Kumar’s situation, associate professor of physiology and co-founder of the Medial Humanities Group at University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi, Satendra Singh, has complained to the president of MCI, additional chief secretary (social justice and empowerment) of Himachal Pradesh and director and deputy director of empowerment of SC’s, OBC’s, minorities affairs and the specially-abled (ESOMSA) of the state government about how the medical student’s case also highlighted violations of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016.

Singh recalled in the complaint that it was on his petition in the court of chief commissioner for persons with disabilities and later with the National Human Rights Commission that the MCI had directed all medical institutions in the country to become disabled-friendly and also instructed them to submit a compliance report.

He said following the petitions, the MCI had revised the standard assessment form and thereby fixed the accountability of accessibility of the medical institution on to the dean or principal.

Furthermore, he said, the Centre had enacted the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPwD) Act 2016 to give effect to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which lays certain principles for empowerment of persons with disabilities. These principles call for “respect for inherent dignity, independence of persons; non-discrimination; full and effective participation and inclusion in society; respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity; equality of opportunity; accessibility; and equality.”

Singh said it was also notable that the director of ESOMSA in Himachal Pradesh had on May 5, 2017 issued directions for the implementation of provisions of the RPwD Act in letter and spirit. Also, he said, the governor had on July 20 this year appointed a deputy director (welfare) of ESOMSA as the grievance redressal officer.

`Nahan medical college did not comply with directions’

But despite all of these legislations and mandatory orders being in place, Singh lamented that the Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar Government Medical College, Nahan, remains disability-unfriendly and has failed to provide necessary accessibility to persons with disabilities.

Stating that the fact that Kumar had to be physically lifted in the medical college every time he goes there to attend his MBBS classes amounts to “humiliation”, he charged that the lack of accessibility at the college showed that the administration had flouted the MCI norms as well as provisions of RPwD Act and the state government’s directives.

“The Principal of Government Medical College, Nahan also happens to be Director, Medical Education & Research of Government of Himachal Pradesh. In both these capacities she has flouted the law and government order. As per the MCI Standard Assessment Form, it is the responsibility of the Principal to comply with the Disability Act,” said the disability rights activist.

MCI urged to pull up principal for dereliction

Singh also urged the MCI president to take strict view of this violation and seek explanation from the principal and direct her to make the campus accessible by providing at the earliest all reasonable provisions as laid down under the RPwD Act.

He also appealed to the state government, ESOMSA and the grievance redressal officer to consider his complaint under Section 20 of the RPwD Act for investigation and take up the matter with the establishment for corrective action within two weeks as prescribed in the Act.

Singh also sought strict action under Section 89 and 92 of the Act and the imposition of a financial penalty and imprisonment, as deemed fit and provided in the Act, since this was a case where a person with disability was being forced to undergo humiliation because of lack of accessibility, which is his right.

Kumar’s father concerned about son’s well-being

Meanwhile, Kumar’s father has also been raising the issue of the difficulties faced by both his son and the volunteers and attendants when they have to physically lift him from one floor to the other in the college. Prasad said he has written letters to the prime minister, chief minister and also the college management to seek their intervention for urgently making necessary provisions for ensuring the smooth movement of his son around the medical college.

He has also pointed out that even after Kumar got admission in the college, necessary arrangements for making it accessible have not been provided. Kumar is also not able to avail of the hostel because of similar shortcomings.

He has pointed out that at least four people are required to lift Kumar each time and this is as perilous for them as the medical student. Kumar uses a wheelchair to move around as his muscles have been becoming weak due to muscular dystrophy.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Medical Council of India’s new guidelines on admission of persons with specified disabilities: Unfair, discriminatory and unlawful

Medical Council of India’s new guidelines on admission of persons with specified disabilities: Unfair, discriminatory and unlawful

The Medical Council of India (MCI)’s recent guidelines on admission of persons with specified disabilities into the medical course under the disability quota has escalated into a huge controversy. Multiple litigations have been initiated against MCI by successful National Eligibility cum Entrance Test candidates with disabilities across the country. In light of our new Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, I argue in this essay that these guidelines are unfair, discriminatory and unlawful. I quote Supreme Court judgments on reasonable accommodation, equality and discrimination and highlight the exclusion of doctors with disabilities in policy making.

Post script: The author-led representation, under the banner “Doctors with Disabilities: Agents of Change”, was taken on record by the Health Ministry. It has been learnt that the Health Ministry has amended certain controversial parts in the MCI guidelines acknowledging said representation in their response to the apex court.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Accessibility of Golden Temple for devotees with disabilities

1) Shri Captain Amarinder Singh
Hon’ble Chief Minister of Punjab &
Chairman, Amritsar Culture and Tourism Development Authority (ACTDA)
2) Shri Navjot Singh Sidhu
Minister Tourism and Cultural Affairs &
Member, ACTDA
3) Shri Kamaldeep Singh Sangha
District Commissioner, Amritsar
Chief Executive Officer of Executive Committee ACTDA
4) Shri S. Gobind Singh Ji Longowal,
President, Shiromani Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC)
Ref: Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 to be read with section 7(v) of the Amritsar Culture and Tourism Development Authority Act 2016 on Sri Harmandir Sahib and Heritage Street being inaccessible to devotees with disabilities
Hon'ble CM,
Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh
In 2017, Golden Temple was awarded as the 'most visited place of the world' by World Book of Records. However, this place of worship is inaccessible to world's largest minority- people with disabilities.
Photo: Vishal Kumar, Tribune

Uneven, rugged surface difficult to manoeuvre wheelchair

Dr Satendra Singh

This chairlift was non functional on 28th April 2018 and even to reach here, one has to climb 3-4 steps

There is a provision which makes the centre verge of barricades lower down to make way, but in the absence of any official attendant, this is of no help

As the Amritsar Culture and Tourism Development Authority (ACTDA) Act, 2016 is applied to Sri Golden temple and Roads, Round-abouts and Street Furniture (Town Hall to Golden Temple and Exit), and as you are the Chairperson of the ACTDA, I request you to look into the following suggestions (published on The Quint and sent to your office earlier via speed post) so that devotees with disabilities are not excluded to visit one of the most holy places on the planet earth.
Sat Sri Akal

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Budget 2018: Blow to Persons with Disabilities

NewsClickIn: Persons with Disabilities are outraged at the Union Budget 2018 as it excludes and side-lines Persons with Disability. Having signed the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disability in 2007, India, under BJP government finally passed the Rights of Persons with Disability Bill in December 2016. Yet consecutive budgets have failed to allocate funds for the Act to be implemented and realized.

Friday, January 26, 2018

'Accessible Election' theme but inaccessible venue on National Voters Day

CBSE asks diabetic students to apply under the disability quota

For board exams, CBSE puts Type-1 diabetes under disabled category

Disability rights activist Dr Satendra Singh said some specific reasonable concessions were needed to help such people. "There is no point of getting a separate certificate for T1DM under the disability category as this will open a Pandora's box as these people will demand benefits under the disability act."

Read the full story on Times of India website here.

Disability issues that continue to dog Aadhaar

“Even more vexing,” says Satendra Singh, Delhi-based disability rights activist, “is the issue of taking biometric measurements of people with psychiatric disorders, cerebral palsy, and leprosy.”

As the Supreme Court gears up to rule on the constitutionality of Aadhaar this week, a two-part series examines the nagging bugs the UIDAI hasn’t yet fixed. Read the full report b Geetanjali Krishna on Business Standard website here.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Jet Airways caught humiliating wheelchair users

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

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Insensitive Railways -Part II

If accessibility was the main theme in #InsensitiveRailways part-I, there lack of competency will be clearly visible in this post. My railway ticket was booked on counter by showing both Railway Concession certificate and e-concession card. Despite that we were allotted middle and upper berths as shown below.
I highlighted these by multiple tweets to both handles of Railway Minister. This was carried by Times of India as well as Sandhya Times despite all these my upper and middle berth was not changed. We have heard many stories of provision of hot milk during journey by a single tweet etc and it seems all of these were fake stories to generate PR. Here is the reality.

Insensitive Railways - Part I

Sharing with you evidences about #InsensitiveRailways. I reached Old Delhi Railway Station (designated as A1 class) to board train number 14659 but the A1 grade railway station in the capital of India doesnot have lift connecting platforms. You will find MacDonald, WiFi, even escalators but not elevators connecting platform. There is one lift which only goes to cloakroom. Read this entire twitter thread to see that bullet train is the priority for Railways but not dignified transport for elderly and disabled.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

No lower berth for disabled activist even after ticket tweet

Jasjeev Gandhiok| TNN | Jan 6, 2018, 04:11 IST

NEW DELHI: Dr Satendra Singh, a Delhi-based disability rights activist, took to Twitter on Friday after he was allotted middle and upper berths despite booking a ticket under the disability quota.
Singh, who suffers from polio in the legs and requires a wheelchair to travel, has booked a ticket for four people from Udaipur for an overnight journey on Chetak Express on January 6. While Singh, an associate professor at University College of Medical Sciences in DU, has tagged the authorities, he is yet to get a lower berth.

"Even after booking the train ticket on the disability quota, I was allotted only upper and middle berths. For how long will people like me suffer? I will file a complaint under the disability act," Singh told TOI.

Replying to Singh, the railway authorities tweeted that while seats were allotted automatically, they often gave appropriate seats to such passengers on request.

Singh said, "It has taken us nearly seven months to get our e-concession forms online and we have to fill up two more forms to book a ticket online under the quota, yet nothing is being done to ensure that we are allotted lower berths."

A few months ago, the then railway minister, Suresh Prabhu, met disability rights activist and international para-athlete Suvarna Raj to take suggestions for improving travelling conditions of the differently-abled.

Source: Times of India