Expressing concern at the continuing violation of the rights of persons with disabilities, the 20th party congress of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has demanded penal provisions to make such infringement an offence.

A resolution, adopted by the party congress on Saturday, pointed to the repeated violation of the rights of the disabled: every day, thousands of disabled citizens faced varying degrees of difficulties, harassment and humiliation in public spaces because of the lack of facilities, insensitivity and stigma.

Women vulnerable

Though disabled women were particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment, police stations had neither the facilities nor the personnel to deal with such complaints, it pointed out.

Though the persons with disabilities were equal before the law, they continued to be discriminated against and were deprived of basic rights, including heath care, education, livelihood, social security and political and civil rights, the resolution noted.

It said the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, was ineffective because there was no monitoring mechanism or provision to punish those who violated it. As a result, their rights are violated with impunity.

Guidelines issued by various agencies were also being disregarded, the resolution said.

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