Javed Abidi, pioneer of India's disability rights movement, passes away

Javed Abidi, the father of India's disability rights movement, is no more.

Mr Abidi is widely credited with the drafting and passage of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act 2016. He was the director of the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) in India.

Mr Abidi was also the chairperson of Disabled People's International (India) - DPII. This is a global body with special consultative status to the United Nations.

Mr Abidi was born in Aligarh in 1965. He had congenital spina bifida, which is a developmental disorder. He traveled tirelessly across the world on a wheelchair, advocating the rights of disabled people.

He set up the disability wing of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation in India, after being invited to do so by Sonia Gandhi. In 1995, he led a protest before Parliament, which pushed Parliament into passing the Persons with Disabilities Act that same year.

His letter to the Chief Justice of India in 2004 on making polling booths accessible to persons with disabilities was converted into a writ petition. The Supreme Court of India then passed directions to make the voting process accessible.

Since the news of his demise, social media has been flooded with reactions of grief.

Sorry to hear that Mr Javed Abidi is no more. He gave hope to many Persons with Disabilities, fought for their rights and made India a more equal opportunity place. His demise has created a vacuum that cannot be filled - Nipun Malhotra, Founder- Nipman Foundation

Huge setback for disability sector - Aditi Tandon

RELATED: Funeral of disability rights leader Javed Abidi will take place today

ALSO READ: The Magic that was Javed Abidi