People's Democracy

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


No. 49

December 09, 2012




Struggle of Disabled people


ON the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, December 3, 2012, the Tamilnadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently-Abled and Caregivers (TARATDAC) had organised a statewide protest to press various demands of the disabled persons.


Nearly 7,000 people with various types of disability staged a sit-in protest in front of district collectorates and taluk offices in 74 centers including Puducherry Union Territory.


The protesters had appealed to the state government to simplify procedures while identifying people with disabilities who are eligible for financial assistance and other aid under various government welfare schemes.


Several thousand people with disabilities in the state suffered extensively as they were unable to meet certain standards of disability as maintained by the state government. They had to travel long distances from one government office and hospital to another to get their percentage of disability certificates from doctors and other documents from government departments.  Nearly all of the people with disabilities in the state belonged to low-income groups and several times, their applications were rejected, mostly because they did not have adequate documents to back their claims, the leaders of TARATDAC explained.


In Alandur near Chennai, TARATDAC representatives and CPI(M) members took part in a demonstration outside the office of the tahsildar, and also submitted a representation to the officials of the revenue department, highlighting their grievances. Here the protest was addressed by D Lakshmanan, vice president of the association.


He charged that people with disabilities already faced numerous problems as the capital city was not disabled-friendly, and that the government, especially the revenue department should simplify procedures for financial aid.


He said camps should be conducted on the premises of all the local bodies and steps should be taken up to identify all the persons with disability in the district and provide them with identity cards. This would enable them to get the welfare assistance provided by the central and state governments without delays.


He also demanded the government should fill up all the vacancies reserved for the persons with disability in various departments immediately.


At Ariyalur, S Namburajan, state secretary of TARATDAC addressed the demonstration. He alleged that education remains a distant dream for 90 per cent of the differently abled persons. Employment also remains a problem. The government should pay Rs 3,000 as monthly assistance to unemployed differently abled persons until they get a job. He wanted Tamilnadu government to relax the conditions it has put for providing monthly financial assistance to disabled persons. As per government stipulations, family income of the differently abled person seeking financial assistance should not exceed Rs 2,000. There should not be a normal male earning member in the family, and level of disability should be over 60 per cent. This would deprive many differently abled persons of the assistance.


He also charged that state welfare board for disabled persons is paralysed due to the government’s inaction.


State president of the organisation B Janshi Rani led the demo at Ulundurpettai. And the leaders of CPI(M) including the party’s legislative members addressed across the state.




Earlier, the TARATDAC had intervened in various issues related to the disabled persons’ problems. Recently, on November 26, visually challenged graduates started an indefinite fast at Chennai. S Namburajan and other leaders of the association supported the protest and demanded the government to address the issue. But the police unleashed its highhandedness on the protesters. TARATDAC condemned it.  


The small group of men, who sat-in on the road near Valluvar Kottam, Chennai were all qualified, and all unemployed. All the men have studied and trained to be teachers, but have not been able to get jobs for several years now.


According to the protestors there are 1,000 qualified visually challenged students with B.Ed, M.Ed, or M.Phil degrees across the state, but none of them have been appointed as teachers, because of their disability. Thanks to continued unemployment, many have resorted to hawking in suburban trains, constantly on the lookout for the police who throw them out.


“The government should reduce the pass marks for us and make it on par with the standards set by the University Grants Commission or in states like Kerala and Karnataka. Scribes sometimes take time to understand the subject and our answers. As a result, we are unable to write all the answers in the given time,” they said.




On October 14, the TARATDAC organised a grand function at Chennai which was addressed by the governor of Tamilnadu K Rossiah. He released the first copy of ‘Oonamutror Urimai Kural (Voice of disabled)’, monthly magazine of the TARATDAC. He inaugurated the Tamil website of the organisation also.