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Kozhikode Art Gallery under fire for blocking access to wheelchair users

The Kozhikode Art Gallery, a well-known cultural space is in the dock for its shocking display of apathy towards people with disabilities.

This is after a recent art exhibition held on its premises was inaccessible to wheelchair users as waste had been dumped on it. Ironically, the exhibition focus was on people with Disabilities.

What has infuriated the disabled community even further is the lack of any action taken when this was pointed out. All that the authorities did was throw their hands up and say nothing could be done.

The All Kerala Wheelchair Rights Federation (AKWRF), Kozhikode wing, is planning to take action and have met the assistant district collector who has promised speedy action to ensure the gallery is accessible again.

Riyas N P, Kozhikode District Secretary, All Kerala Wheelchair Rights Federation is also talking to gallery officials about this.

Authorities have dumped waste at the entrance where the wheelchair ramp is kept. Moreover, there is not even a door there. There were many wheelchair users who wanted to attend the art exhibition last week. But they just could not enter. We hope quick action will be taken to enable equal participation of people with disabilities everywhere. - Riyas N P, District Secretary, Kozhikode, All Kerala Wheelchair Rights Federation

The gallery has violated the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, which clearly states that all public places must be made accessible for disabled people. And this kind of violation is not a one off despite the law.

Ashique N T, Vice President, AKWRF, Kozhikode said they plan to keep petitioning the authorities until suitable steps are taken by the gallery to rectify this.

"We are demanding our rights and we must get it at any cost. We could not meet the district collector but his deputy has said she would do her best to ensure we get justice legally. Most wheelchair users in the city never visited the art gallery but since this one was on disabled people, we decided to check it out", he says.

ALSO READ: Kerala government introduces exclusive courts to handle cases for disabled people

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