Saturday, April 12, 2014

Modi remarks on disabled condemned

 The National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) strongly condemns the views expressed by Shri Narendra Modi at  Jamshedpur on April 10 while campaigning for the BJP there.

 It has been reported that the BJP's Prime Ministerial  aspirant, speaking at an election rally said that "the country does  not want a  deaf and dumb, handicapped government". The observations by Shri Modi  reflect a hackneyed mindset that is biased against persons  with  disabilities. Implicit in Modi's statement is that persons  with  disabilities are "handicapped" and unable to discharge any responsibility let alone hold public office.

 It has now become a habit for Modi to make such remarks. On  an earlier occasion, he had called the former Chhattisgarh CM, Shri  Ajit Jogi, a  wheelchair user, a "cripple".

Patronising terms like "specially-abled", contained in the BJP's  manifesto, cannot hide the parochial mindset of the BJP, which  promotes a model of development that works to the disadvantage of the  marginalised.

It may be recalled that two years ago the BJP-backed candidate for the  President's office, Shri P.A. Sangma also expressed such  insensitivity  by stating that "India should have a President, who is not  blind, dumb  and deaf. India should have a thinking and a functional President."

We would like to remind the BJP leadership that there are any number  of persons with disabilities, the blind and the deaf included, who  have made sterling contributions in public life.

Whatever the provocation, even at the height of a bitter political campaign, usage of such terms to deride political opponents is  unpardonable. Such insensitivity and callous remarks made with the intent of deriding your opponents cannot be condoned and go unchallenged.

 The NPRD lodges its unequivocal protest against these insensitive  remarks made by the BJP leader and calls for an unqualified apology  from him. It urges upon the Election Commission of India to take  suitable action against him for these uncalled for remarks, which are  not just an insult but question the intelligence and capabilities of  persons with disabilities.

National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled
4, Ashoka Road, New Delhi 110 001
Tel. 9868768543

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