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Disability activists demand more say in drafting new Act

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“WE PROTEST”: Members of the Disabled Rights Group holding a candlelight vigil outside the residence of Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Mukul Wasnik in New Delhi on Saturday. -
“WE PROTEST”: Members of the Disabled Rights Group holding a candlelight vigil outside the residence of Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Mukul Wasnik in New Delhi on Saturday. -

Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: Disability activists held a candlelight vigil outside the residence of Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Mukul Wasnik on Saturday demanding that more disabled people be made part of the committee for drafting the new disability Act.

“After months of relentless advocacy by disabled rights organisations, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has finally embarked upon a historic task of drafting a new law to replace the outdated Disability Act, 1995. While it was much welcome news, the disability sector was equally astounded after having a look at the committee constituted by the Ministry to draft the new legislation. The committee of 27-odd members has only three persons with disabilities on it. There is no representation of the national organisations of disabled people,” said National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled convenor Javed Abidi.

At a meeting with the Minister, disability rights groups had expressed dissatisfaction and anxiety among the disabled leaders across the country and provided a list of genuine and the most eligible experts from within the disability sector. However, the Minister nonchalantly dismissed the suggestion.

As a result of rising discontent, nearly 50 top activists and disability leaders from across the country began deliberations on the issue on Saturday at a two-day conclave called to discuss the situation.

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