Disability Rights Front releases manifesto, says ‘don’t call us divyang

Published - May 16, 2024 01:15 am IST - New Delhi

The Disability Rights Front (DRF) on Wednesday released its manifesto, the Disabled Citizens of India (2024), amid the ongoing Lok Sabha elections to address gaps in representation and policies regarding disabled persons and their families. The event was attended by disabled persons from across the Capital.

The key demands raised by the voluntary group of disability rights’ activists, students, teachers and employees included the need for a uniform nomenclature for disabled persons throughout the country.

“We are what we are, don’t call us divyang. We don’t want to face a situation where we get rights in the form of charity. We want legal protection for our rights,” said Vikas Gupta, executive member of the DRF, at the event held at the Press Club of India. He added that the group had decided to launch the manifesto as discourse on the community has been “absolutely sidelined” in the election discourse.

The manifesto also touched upon demands to include the health, education, employment, social security and political representation of disabled persons. It included a demand to create a separate Ministry of Disability at the Union and State levels.

“We are the largest minority of the country yet the most neglected section. If proper opportunities are not provided to us, it is a loss to the society, as persons with disabilities will be reduced to liabilities and perpetual ‘tax consumers’,” said Jagdesh Chandra, a professor of political science at Hindu College, Delhi University. He added that making the community self-reliant through economic empowerment was the need of the hour.

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