People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 44

October 31, 2010


'Make Issues of Disabled Part

of Struggle for Social Change'


The CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and MP, Brinda Karat, has called for incorporating the issues of the disabled into the larger movement for social change. Saying that these issues do not just concern the disabled, she said they must be made an integral part of all progressive movements.


Brinda Karat stated this while delivering the inaugural address in the first state conference of the National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) Andhra Pradesh unit in Hyderabad on October 28. The conference was attended by around 350 delegates while the inaugural session saw the Sundarayya Vignana Kendram auditorium jampacked with around 500 differently-abled people. Most of them, including women, walked on four limbs and took the seats while some were carried into the auditorium by relatives and volunteers. There were a few blind persons also in attendance.


Expressing anguish at the lack of understanding about the problems of disabled people, the CPI(M) leader said that it is a reflection of the deep disabilities in our society that is resulting in such a situation. She stressed the need for a long and bitter struggle to not only change the government policies but also to assert the right of differently abled people to live as equal citizens. In this context, she referred to the resolution moved by her in the last session of parliament for amending the constitution to add 'disability' also to the list of religion, race, caste, creed, colour for non-discrimination. This drew loud applause from the audience, a testimony to how strongly they feel about the discrimination they constantly face. Karat demanded that it should be made a punishable offence if the public facilities schools, hospitals, public transport etc do not implement disable-friendly measures. She also demanded that the present census must enumerate people of all kinds of disability so that a real picture of the number of disabled people in the country emerges.


A large section of the disabled belong to the poorest sections and their plight has become more worst with the government of India policies that were making the rich more richer and the poor more poorer, Karat said. She wanted the nearly 6 crore tonnes of foodgrains rotting in the godowns to be distributed to the poor at Antyodaya rates. The meagre allocations in the budget for the disabled must be enhanced and the pensions being given for the disabled must be indexed to the price rise. She concluded by calling on the delegates to strengthen the platform and take the struggle for justice forward. She saluted the women disabled among the audience in particular saying  they are facing double discrimination but yet carrying on the struggle with spirit.


Anita Rajendran, commissioner of disabled welfare department of the government of Andhra Pradesh, in her speech stated that the funds allocated for her department were too meagre and even that amount being spent through NGOs was becoming a problem. She charged that some of the NGOs were only interested in making money. She appealed to NPRD to take up this issue at national level and strive to bring a uniform Act in this regard.


Earlier, a procession was taken out by the delegates and others from RTC Kalyana Mandapam to Sundarayya Vignana Kendram. The spirited slogans of the rallyists, all differently-abled yet marching in a disciplined manner attracted the attention of all. Brinda Karat, CPI(M) MLA, J Ranga Reddy, honorary president of NPRD, G Ramulu and president V Venkateswarlu, Ambu Rajan NPRD leader from Tamilnadu and others led the procession.