Outrage over TikTok videos mocking disabled people, call for strict action
Recently, videos of non-disabled people faking disability in a mocking manner made the rounds on popular video-sharing app TikTok. The videos have outraged the disability community who are calling for the strictest possible action.
TikTok, the popular video-sharing social networking app, has been in the spotlight many times for not showing respect to people with disabilities. Now they are facing the heat for the same reasons. This time for showing videos of non-disabled people pretending to be disabled. This is apparently done in a spirit of fun but what it has generated is huge outrage.
TikTok faces heat for mocking disability yet again
Last December, TikTok was criticised for preventing disabled users’ videos from showing up on feeds. The company later apologised but clearly there has been no change in policy. The new videos that are doing the rounds seem to have been shot in India.
The videos were shot after the lockdown was declared during which people have been asked to stay indoors. Those who appear in the videos can be seen walking or standing on the roadside. As soon as the police alarm is heard, they pretend to fake a disability just to escape from the cops.
Members and experts from the disability community is not letting this insensitivity go unnoticed. They are gearing up to take action under the Indian Penal Code as well as Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) 2016 Act.
Section 92 of the RPWD Act, 2016 states that intentionally insulting or intimidating with intent to humiliate a person with disability in any place within public view is a punishable act.
Call for quick action
TMN Deepak, a disability rights activist and Founder of 3 December Movement from Chennai highlights on the need for quick action.
“For someone who hails from a progressive society, such videos are sickening. It clearly shows the insensitivity of the society towards people with disabilities in spite of experts talking about need for awareness. Concerned officials must look into this because the dignity of people with disabilities must be respected. The society has not changed in spite of so many legal advancements. These videos shows the rotten attitude of the society”, he says.
Deepak further adds the need for stricter guidelines, “There are no guidelines for TikTok in handling such things. Such videos must undoubtedly be contained. Apart from those featuring in the videos, TikTok is also a culprit”, he says.
Akeel Ahmad Usmani, a disability rights activist says, “The United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities lays down the principles, respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy, non-discrimination and full effective participation, equal opportunities to disabled people. Article 21 of Indian Constitution guarantees the right to live with dignity to all citizens. Such derogatory acts on TikTok hurts the dignity and self-respect of people with disabilities. A detailed complaint will be filed with all the concerned departments including the Delhi police”.
Reactions on social media
Shockingly, a large number of people have widely shared the videos.
Arman Ali, Executive Director, National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People also took to Facebook to slam the insensitivity shown.
“We the people with disabilities of this country, are horrified and appalled at this grossly insensitive and crass video that is doing the rounds and reaching millions of people. Using sadistic and twisted humour and invoking the misuse of one’s disability is not just cruel and inhuman but also extremely violative of our rights as citizens of this country”.
The insensitive videos on TikTok calls for immediate action. The people who appear in the videos must face legal action too.
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