Physically challenged persons can achieve their rights only when they have a voice in the decision-making bodies.

Physically challenged persons can achieve their rights only when they have a voice in the decision-making bodies to represent them on their behalf, said Madiga Reservation Porata Samithi (MRPS) president Manda Krishna Madiga.

Addressing an impressive gathering of physically challenged men and women, including hearing impaired, at a meeting organised by the Vikalangula Hakkula Porata Samithi (VHPS) on the Old Jail Road here on Tuesday, he recalled how two physically challenged persons from a hostel in the city had met him a few years ago and impressed upon him to visit their hostel once. He had come to attend a meeting of MRPS on the issue of categorisation of SCs. The appalling conditions at the hostel made him wonder at the indifference of the officials towards the physically challenged.

“The inmates mistook me, and they thought I was sympathising them and asked me to do something for their welfare, if I could, but told me not to pity them. I told them that I would fight along with them on their behalf to achieve their rights,” he recalled.

Dig at parties

Mr. Manda Krishna said that he had formed the VHPS to fight for the rights of physically challenged. A fast-unto-death was launched in Hyderabad after which the government had agreed to give a pension of Rs.500 to physically challenged students on the lines of SC and ST students. He said political parties which had expressed support towards the cause of the disabled during the indefinite fast had forgotten their promise and failed to raise their issues in the Assembly and Parliament. He attributed this to lack of representation of physically challenged in the Assembly and Parliament. The physically challenged were around 10 per cent of country’s population, numbering around 10 crore. He claimed that there was a noticeable change in the attitude of officials towards the physically challenged after the formation of the VHPS. Mr. Manda Krishna assured the participants that he would stand by them till their representatives were elected to the Assembly and Parliament. “I will lead you into the Assembly and Parliament either in 2014 or 2019 elections,” he told amidst cheers from the crowd. He also assured them to stand by them in their struggle seeking a hike in pension from Rs.500 to Rs.1,500 and added that those who insult the physically challenged should be punished. VHPS State president A. Rambabu, general secretaries K. Yadaiah, P. Bhavani Choudhary, and G. Rajitha and Visakhapatnam district unit president Y. David Raju were among those who attended.

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