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#Disabled People Cry for Justice: The findings of 2011 Census have revealed that out of 2.68 crore disabled people in India, Uttar Pradesh has the largest number of disabled people in the state. It tops the chart on most indecies; such as homelessness among the disabled, concentration of disabled in the rural areas and the maximum population of children with disabilities. As per the Deccan Herald report, though under-counted, the state has 12,876 persons as homeless, out of which 4,452 are women. Given the widespread poverty in the state, its evident that The majority of disabled people reside in the rural areas where procuring disability certificate, accessible publick places, attaining education, and obtaining employment is a far-fetched dream.The inextricable link between disability and poverty accentuates the miseries of silent disabled sufferers. The state’s indifferent leadership and the apathetic bureaucracy have compounded the woes of the disabled.

The Persons with Disabilities, (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights) and the Full Participation Act 1995 completed two decades of its enactment in December 2015, however its core provisions related to accessibility, education and employment for the disabled are yet to make impact on the ground in the state. As a consequence,large number of disabled people from Uttar Pradesh continue to migrate to Delhi for education and employment. But those disabled people whose families are unable to afford the distinct requirements of their offsprings face the daily ordeal.The stigma of disability and lack of support from the government makes it tough for a disabled to live a dignified life in the villages. As Amar Ujala reported on 20 December 2015 that a mentally disabled man was burnt alive in the district of Muradabad. However The UP government is yet to initiate action against the accused. In the recent past, local media in the state have highlighted several such cases where disabled people became the victims of hate-crime however the state is unmoved towards addressing their plight.

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Disabled People cry for Justice in Uttar Pradesh

#Disabled People Cry for Justice. The UP government’s indifference towards growing discrimination and humiliation against the disabled people is shocking. In December 2014, Akhilesh Yadav cabinet colleague Mr Awadhesh Prasad, who is the Social Welfare Minister in the state had said in a publick function that “The physically disabled people are huge burden on their families and society”. Despite his objectionable remark deriding disabled people, the state government did not take any action against him. Ironically, the government of India on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December 2015, honored the Uttar Pradesh from the best state award for empowering the persons with disabilities in 2014-15. The selection of Uttar Pradesh as the best state for empowering the disabled people raises critical questions about the criteria followed by the Centre for conferring the disability awards.

If one reviews the steps undertaken by the UP government for the empowerment of the disabled last year, one finds a very gloomy picture. In March 2014, the Para-National Games were organized in Ghaziabad UP. To everybody’s shock, the Disabled atheletes were provided sub-standard facilities. Accomodation arrangement proved hellish for the players. The Hindustan Times in an Editorial aptly remarked

“The Ghaziabad incident came to light primarily because it happened in an urban area. But hundreds of such stories of discrimination can be found all over India. The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members, and on that count India has once again failed them miserably.”

Moreover, The Uttar Pradesh government has not delivered the disability pension for last nine months to the disabled residents in Meeruth.   The Paltry Rs 600 monthly pension is the sole lifeline for hundreds of disabled people, however the UP government’s inordinate delay in the dispersal of the pension aggrevating the residents’ trouble.On the employment front, In the days leading up to the International Day of Disabled People on 3 December, Many disabled people collectively held a protest in Lucknow demanding jobs but the government used police to shoo away the demonstrators.Despite the state’s attempt to curtail the impact of a peaceful protest by the disabled, aggrieved protesters spirit to fight for their rights was exemplary.

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The Akhilesh Yadav Government thus needs to introspect and honor The commitment it made to the disabled people in the state. It should take stern action against the errant officials who violate the disability law. The UP cities are inaccessible and hardly offers employment opportunities to the disabled. The best State Award given to the UP this year for the empowerment of the disabled should inspire the state to act judiciously for ensuring non-discrimination in matters of education and employment. The existing meagre Pension amount given to the disabled residents in the state should also be raised to enable them for facing unemployment challenges. If the state-officials will exhibit political will to emancipate the lives of its disabled population, the growing braindrain from the state can be controlled. And the state could leverage their potential for the betterment of the UP as whole.

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Visually Impaired Doctoral candidate at the Centre for Law and Governance, JNU.