A group of persons with disabilities staged a demonstration near Lalbagh West Gate on Wednesday to drive home the point that their disabilities will not stop them from exercising their franchise on Thursday.

The demonstration was held under the aegis of ASTHA, Association of People with Disabilities, Karnataka Parents Association for Mentally Retarded Citizens, Association for Mentally Challenged and Margadarshee.

These being organisations working for empowerment of persons with disabilities, they sought to display solidarity with one another to ensure that people with disabilities exercise their right.

The demonstrators held placards that said: “Please Vote” and “I am voting, are you?”.

Extending help

Sunil Jain, founder of ASTHA, said that persons with disabilities were not complaining or blaming anyone even if they were not being given the necessary facilities for them to come out and vote. “Persons with disabilities will assist one another and ensure that they cast their votes even if the authorities concerned are not extending any help to enable them to reach the polling booths to exercise their franchise,” he said.

In Delhi, provisions have been made according to the directions of the Election Commission of India to make sure that proper facilities are made available for persons with disabilities at all polling stations. But in Bangalore such measures have not been taken.

However, there is help for persons with disabilities who wish to cast their vote in Bangalore on April 17. ASTHA will provide free travel to and from polling booths in Bangalore for persons with disabilities. Interested persons may call ASTHA helpline 9900499793.

Those who register on the ASTHA website, www.astha.in, will be provided free taxi service to and from polling booths across the city, said Mr. Jain.

Divya Unnikrishnan, Assistant Manager of Programmes and Outreach at the Namma Bengaluru Foundation, has urged people to help persons with disabilities reach the polling booths. “Make way for them. Help those who need help.”

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