People's Democracy

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


No. 27

July 08, 2012




Struggle for Rights: 6000 Disabled Persons Arrested


S P Rajendran


MORE than 6,000 people with disabilities gheraoed and staged picketing in front of government offices and main roads at 45 various centres in Tamilnadu, including the cities of Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai, to press for their livelihood related demands.


The protest took place on June 27, in response of the call given by Tamilnadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently Abled and Caretakers (TARATDAC).


The huge protest by disabled persons mainly focussed on the unwarranted lethargic methods and procedures in government offices on the issues of disabled persons’ welfare. In particular, the revenue department and the disabled persons’ welfare department of the state government have set different types of conditions, which are contradictory, to be fulfilled by the disabled persons in order to prove themselves as 'disabled.’


The government insists upon 60 per cent disability to get some financial assistance in one scheme but in another scheme the same government department insists the disability should be 80 per cent.


In one scheme the rules say the family of a disabled person should have not any assets beyond the worth of Rs 5,000.


On the age factor also, the rules framed by the administration are contradictory. In particular, any disabled person under the age of 18 years is not eligible to receive any assistance. At the same time, the age should not exceed 45 years.


In sum, the government's idea seems to be that nobody should be able to claim any assistance from any department.


Hence the TARATDAC has demanded that these unruly rules should go. And the protesters raised demands for distribution of national identity cards and distribution of housesite pattas for persons with disabilities.


They also demanded that the government should take steps to appoint vocational guidance officers in all districts. Though a GO for appointment of vocational guidance officers was issued in 2005, such officers were appointed only in Madurai, Thirunelveli, Nagapattinam and Chennai.


The protesters also demanded proper implementation of three per cent reservation for disabled persons as per the government norm. They complained that this provision was being flouted by many government establishments while making recruitments.


The other demands put forward by the protestors included allocation of a special grievance day for disabled person at the Collectorate, due recognition of and opportunities for disabled sports persons, and making the government buildings, educational institution, ATMs and other public places disabled-friendly.


State TARATDAC president B Janshi Rani led the protest at Palani, the famous pilgrimage centre of Lord Murugan worship. General secretary S Namburajan led the protest at Nagapattinam. Senior leader and vice president of the association D Lakshmanan addressed the protestors and courted arrest at Coimbatore. State and district leaders protested and courted arrest in various districts.


In this statewide agitation, the police unleashed their arrogance on the disabled persons. In particular, police atrocities took place in Periyakulam, Kovilpatti, Thanjavur, Thiruvarur, Salem, Edappadi, Nagarcoil. The TARATDAC has vehemently condemned the police highhandedness. Its state committee congratulated the protestors for making the protest programme a big success.




On July 3, a day after social worker Raj Mohan Chandra was hacked to death by a land mafia gang in Tiruvannamalai, the CPI(M) state committee demanded early enactment of a whistleblowers’ protection law to ensure the safety of activists using the right to information act (RTI), public interest litigants and others fighting for public causes.


The meeting of the party’s state secretariat on the day also adopted a resolution asking for a separate legislation for prevention of honour killings.


Talking to reporters at Chennai, CPI(M) state secretary G Ramakrishnan said those arrested in connection with the murder of Raj Mohan Chandra were also involved in the attack against the CPI(M)’s Tiruvannamalai district secretary Veerabhadran some time ago, who fought against the land mafia.


“There is a nexus between the criminals and politicians and if those who attacked Comrade Veerabhadran had been arrested, Raj Mohan Chandra’s murder would not have taken place. We need specific laws to protect these whistleblowers. Otherwise, no one will come to the streets against anti-social elements and defend public interest,” Ramakrishnan said.




The CPI(M) leader said the brutal murder of a woman police constable, Kanneeswari, in Dindigul district was a clear case of “honour killing” since she was a dalit and in love with Rangaraj, a caste Hindu.


“If a police constable can be murdered for falling in love with a person outside her community, what will happen to others? It could be a case of honour killing and it should be transferred to CB-CID for inquiry,” he said.




G Ramakrishnan said as the Left parties were planning a protest in support of their demand for amendment to the Food Security Bill during the monsoon session of Parliament, the CPI(M) would conduct a survey in 1,500 ration shops and consumers between July 7 and 12 in Tamilnadu to ensure that ration card holders received essential commodities as per norms.


“It will be followed by demonstrations on July 20 locally and subsequently at taluk headquarters on July 30,” he said.

The party’s Central Committee members P Sampath and U Vasuki also attended the press meet.