New Delhi, Feb 10 IANS | 8 months ago

Hundreds of disabled people Monday staged a protest demanding the passage of the Disability Rights Bill in the ongoing parliament session, after the Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the second day since the introduction of the bill.

"This is simply intolerable. Leaders in parliament are not realising the importance of the bill," Disability Rights Group convenor Javed Abidi told the media.

"Despite the assurances given by the political leaders not to politicise the matter, leaders in the Rajya Sabha are not letting the house discuss the bill at all," he said.

Abidi said that despite meeting leaders from the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) on the issue, the matter was not being taken seriously.

Members of the disabled community have been protesting and lobbying to get the bills passed. There are about 70 million disabled people in India.

"During my several meetings with political leaders and bureaucrats, I told them that with the passage of the bill, more than 70 million disabled will get recognition," Abidi told IANS.

"More than 80 percent of the disabled in the country live in villages and remain unemployed and hapless throughout their lives because of the lack of opportunities from the government," he said.

If the Disability Rights Bill gets clearance in parliament with the amendments suggested by the rights groups, then avenues for disabled people in education and employment will open up.

"If the bill is not cleared now, then it will be put in cold storage for almost two years as this is the last parliamentary session of UPA-II," he said.

Earlier Monday, Disabled Rights Group members met Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, who assured them of his best efforts to pass the bill in the upper house.

"Jaitley during the meeting said that if the government was willing to pass the bill then the BJP was ready to approve it," another group member told IANS.

(Posted on 10-02-2014)

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