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Coming national election may be boycotted by Maharashtra's deaf community

February 16, 2019

Faced with longstanding apathy, Maharashtra's deaf community is considering a boycott of the coming national election.

The State Level Association Deaf (SLAD) , a leading organization in Maharashtra, has held many meetings to press for their demands with the government, but nothing concrete has emerged so far.

The organization represents the deaf community in the state and feels fed up of the way they are being ignored by policymakers. To make their presence felt, they have decided that the entire deaf community will boycott the election.

We the deaf people of Maharashtra have decided not to vote in elections as we are fed up of the false promises made to us by politicians ad government heads. Even after the passage of the RPWD2016 Act, the deaf people are still waiting for their welfare and development. Unlike people with other disabilities, deaf people are being ignored and no one is bothered about our sufferings. We have been raising our demands since 2012 and are still waiting for justice. There are no accessibility and inclusion considerations made when it comes to the need of deaf people. - Pradeep More, General Secretary,SLAD

On behalf of the deaf community, SLAD members have submitted their demands to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis but even after assurances, promises remain unfulfilled.

The SLAD's idea has found widespread support among the deaf community. Dhananjay Desai from Parbhani, says he plans to follow the decision.

"I am disappointed in the false promises made by the politicians and have decided not to cast my vote in the upcoming general elections. None of the political parties have taken any interest in the welfare of the deaf community. When it's time for elections, political parties come for vote but do nothing for us once they are elected", says Desai.

The demands made by SLAD are:

  1. Quality education for children of deaf community.

  2. Higher education courses such as BA, BCOM, BSC, Engineering, pharmacy, B.Ed should be free.

  3. Technology institutes for deaf

  4. Books of sign Language in Hindi, English, and Marathi for classes 1 to12.

  5. Proper test should be conducted to identify deaf people as many people get fake disability certificates and get jobs.

  6. Issuance of fake disability certificates should be curbed.

  7. Inclusion for students who are deaf.

  8. Employment opportunity in every district of Maharashtra.

  9. Written test shouldn't be mandatory for government jobs.

  10. Deaf people should be allowed to drive vehicles.

  11. Committees should be set up for welfare of deaf community.

  12. People with 80%- 100% deafness should be given government jobs.

  13. Deaf people should be give jobs at bus stations, Jilha Adhikari offices.

  14. CBI investigation into the working of Ali Yavar Jung National Institute Bandra (Mumbai).

  15. Interpreter presence be made mandatory for meetings of deaf people and the government should pay for these services.

  16. Rules be framed for recruitment of teachers for special schools for deaf people.

There are around 15 lakh people in Maharashtra who are deaf, a sizeable presence that is seeking to make itself heard.

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