About 50 differently abled people protested against the Disability Rights Bill that was introduced in the Parliament on Friday. The protesters, who gathered near Sathya Murthy Bhavan in Triplicane, demanded that changes be made in the bill after due public consultation.

“We are extremely unhappy over how they have defined persons with disability in the bill; it has to be modified. The existing bill does not address some important issues and a few provisions that it contains are even discriminatory in nature,” said Dipti Bhatia, deputy director of Vidyasagar, an organisation that works for welfare of spastic children.

“For instance, the bill does not give a child with disability the choice to decide if she can join special school or regular school,” she said. “Not just that, the political participation of a person with disability ends with voting,” Ms. Bhatia added.

Reshma Valliappan, an activist for people with psychosocial disability, said the bill has decided and identified specific jobs for people with certain disabilities. “It cannot assign some jobs for people with certain disabilities. They have to give a detailed explanation and specify the degree of disability that allows or disallows each individual from taking up any job,” she said.

Smitha Sadasivan of Disability Rights Alliance (DRA) said while women with disability face multiple discrimination, there is no separate chapter on women in the bill. “They have to withdraw this bill, put it up for public consultation and draft a modified bill which guarantees equal rights to all disabled people,” she said.

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