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Disability rights groups in Tamil Nadu issue joint appeal against BJP & allies

Recently, over 100 film makers started a campaign against BJP and requested people to vote wisely for the upcoming elections. Now, disability organizations in Tamil Nadu are coming together against the BJP led government.Over 22 representatives from various organizations represneting disability rights have come together to issue an appeal not to vote for the BJP in upcoming elections.

These organizations claim that the Narendra Modi-led BJP government has not worked towards empowering people with disabilities in their five-year tenure.

In the appeal, organizations have pointed out various flaws of BJP-led central government. This included not implementing jobs quota for disabled people, removing exclusive coaches for disabled people in trains, levying heavy taxes for assistive devices that are used by disabled people and not issuing ID cards for disabled people.

TMN Deepak, Co-founder, 3 December Movement is among the signatories.

In the appeal, we have highlighted that no government has business to change nomenclature which is not in line with modern day disabilities rights discourse. No consultation with the sector took place before changing to Divyangjan. This is extremely unfortunate that the head of the government perceives us as taken for granted! Why should a government which poses to have been very close to disabled people tax us for our assistive devices which are extremely imminent to us? We want the electorate to keep away from BJP which is extremely communal-TMN Deepak, Co-founder, 3 December Movement

Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had mocked people with dyslexia during an interactive session. The appeal mentions this incident and says that this is not the only occasion when the PM had mocked people with disabilities. The organizations have also appealed against BJP allies like the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). The appeal says that they have clearly not adhered to the United Nations Convention on Rights of People with Disabilities which must be followed by all countries across the world.

"Any political party will take its own time to understand requirements of marginalized communities. So we cannot completely shut them down. Instead, we need to give them time. I believe they all will eventually get to a point where they understand the needs and requirements of the disabled community. I believe they will work towards it, says Professor Raghu Raman, a disability rights activist from Tamil Nadu.

The manifestos of the Congress party and and Communist Party of India (Marxist) that have been released have highlighted the needs of the disabled community. The BJP is yet to release its manifesto which has added to the lack of certainty about its policies for people with disabilities. With growing political awareness and activism in the disabled community in India, these are gaps that are being watched, especially given the larger dissatisfaction over the BJP's failure to implement commitments made under the Accessible India Campaign.

ALSO READ: Accessibility observers to lend a helping hand to disabled voters in 2019 general elections

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