Get-hooked October 22, 2020
In a much appreciated move, TN government will not use photos of disabled people receiving aid
After a complaint was raised by Chennai-based activist, Tamil Nadu State Commissionerate for Differently Abled has said that photos of people with disabilities being supplied provisions or medicines during lockdown will not be used for publicity. Community members have lauded the prompt response from officials.
Dinesh* (name has been changed), a wheelchair user from Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu had received a few grocery kits as aid during the pandemic. But a few weeks back, he was shocked to find a photo of him receiving the aid in one of the government posters. Dinesh raised the matter with other people from the state’s disabled community who shared similar experiences. A Chennai based activist put across the matter with concerned officials who gave a prompt response. The State Commissionerate for Differently Abled has said that photos of people with disabilities being supplied provision or medicines during lockdown will not be used for publicity from here on, a move that has been welcomed by the entire community.
Violating rights of people with disabilities
Posters of disabled people being handed medical supplies, tricycles, provisions and grocery kits are widely used by political parties, politicians and also in government aided project. In fact, this common sight has irked many people from the community.
Since disabled people holds the unique disability ID card, aid during these difficult times is an entitlement and not a favor from the government machinery.
A Chennai-based activist brought this to the notice of officials by writing a letter to the state chief minister’s special cell stating that such photographs puts disabled people under undue distress. On 14 September, the state commissioner promptly replied that such photographs will not be used.
A positive sign
Unlike the many concerns raised by disabled people that often goes unheard, this one received a quick response.
S Namburajan, General Secretary of the Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently Abled and Caregivers (TARATDAC) says, “Any act of degrading the dignity and violation of the RPWD Act, 2016 or any other human rights must be taken up seriously”, adding that the concern was taken up by the activist in August.
According to Namburajan, politicians who hand over tricycles or other assistive devices to disabled people take photos and use it for publicity stunts. “This is unfair and cannot be supported. So those who indulge in such malpractices must be summoned”, says Namburajan who also lauds the state disability commissioner for stepping up and doing his bit.
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