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Outrage builds over attack on disabled protestors in Guwahati by local police

October 8, 2018

In what's being criticised as a shocking incident of human rights violation, police in Guwahati beat up a group fo disabled people who were holding a public protest to draw attention to their demands.

On Friday, over 1,200 disabled people had gathered under the banner of Pratibandhi Suraksha Sangstha (PSS), demanding that the 4,419 posts allotted for people with disabilities in various state government offices be filled up.

In all they were demanding that 21 promises made to the community by the Assam government be fulfilled. The protestors were outraged that even after many meetings with the Social Welfare Minister Pramila Rani Brahma, the government had not started the recruitment drive of people with disabilities.

The protestors say they were making their demands peacefully when they were attacked so badly by the police that many of them sustained severe injuries. Among those badly hurt was Nripen Malakar, General Secretary, PSS, who was injured on the hand and chin. Another person sustained a fracture in his hand.

The protestors said that the police did not even take the people who were those injured to the hospital. Instead they were all taken to the police station.

The PSS plans to file a complaint with the State Human Rights Commission. The incident has also been strongly condemned by the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP).

This is unacceptable and brutality on people with disability will not be tolerated. We demand a apology and action against the police personnel. - Arman Ali, Executive Director, National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People

Disability rights groups in Assam and the rest of the north east have also come out in support. "Even if the PSS did not have the required permission to hold the protests, the police had no right to carry out such an attack. We send out solidarity with them and condemn this outright. This is an act that any right-thinking person would be shocked by", said Ketaki Bordoloi, Executive Director, Shishu Sarothi.

Diethono Nakhro, a disability rights activist in Nagaland tweeted, "First they are ignored and treated like second class citizens and then they are brutalised when they speak up for their rights. Action must be taken against the police personnel!".

The images of men in khaki beating up disabled people has horrified many. This comes soon after the widespread outrage over the comments made by Union Minister Babul Supriyo, who threatened in public to break the legs of a disabled person at an event in West Bengal.

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