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Visually impaired students stage demonstration

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IN PROTEST: Students of the National Association for the Blind staging a demonstration in Bangalore on Thursday. Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash
IN PROTEST: Students of the National Association for the Blind staging a demonstration in Bangalore on Thursday. Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash

Staff Reporter

National Association for the Blind accused of harassing trainees

Bangalore: Several visually impaired students taking vocational training at the National Association for the Blind (NAB), Karnataka, staged a demonstration here on Thursday alleging that some members from the management and staff were harassing them. They demanded that they be given job placements after training.

Speaking to The Hindu, the students said that on Wednesday night they got a circular from the management saying that all the students should leave the campus, even though they were aware that many of the trainees, including some of the girls, were from other parts of the State.

"They sent people to threaten us so that we would leave. Many of the students have come from Gulbarga, Raichur and elsewhere. Where could we go so late in the night?" asked one trainee.

On Thursday, all activities in the NAB complex were suspended and only the students were seen. None of the management representatives were present. "They have locked all the rooms and not allowed us to go to classes," the students said.

The trainees have charged some of the staff members of National Association for the Blind, Karnataka, with harassing women trainees.

They alleged that the students undergoing training were not given white canes and other things free. They also said that even though the trainees were promised job placement, the association and the placement officer concerned had not made any efforts to get jobs for the trainees. "We want them to conduct an enquiry into all these things. We have been telling the management about all these wrongdoings but our pleas have fallen on deaf ears," Subbanna, a trainee, said.

However, the management has a different story to tell. According to Saroja Ramachandra, president of National Association for the Blind, Karnataka, during this one-year vocational course, trainees are provided boarding and lodging facilities in the NAB complex itself. They are also provided first aid/medical facility as and when needed. On completion of the course, candidates are given certificates, prizes and a folding cane. The trainees, who were awarded certificates on March 25, are still in the NAB complex refusing to vacate the hostel on the plea that the management should provide them job placements immediately. They have been causing inconvenience to the other inmates and staff of the association, she said. "We have promised them that we will try and get them placement in three months. But they are not ready to cooperate," said Gordon Faife, Chief Executive Officer of National Association for the Blind, Karnataka. The management said an enquiry would be conducted into the allegations.

Complaint

Following a complaint given by the management, police officials from the Jeevan Bima Nagar police station inspected the premises and asked the students about their problems. The police said a meeting of the students and the management would be held on Friday.

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