Disabled activists offended with Modi's reference to deaf, dumb and handicapped
The National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) strongly condemns the views expressed by Shri Narendra Modi at Jamshedpur while campaigning for the BJP there.
He felt implicit in Modi's statement is that persons with disabilities are "handicapped" and unable to discharge any responsibility let alone hold public office. He expressed concern that 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".
NPRD deplored that 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 themarginalised.
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," it added.
NPRD says it 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, it said, usage of such terms to deride political opponents is unpardonable. Such insensitivity and callous remarks made with theintent 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 takesuitable action against him for these uncalled for remarks, which are not just an insult but question the intelligence and capabilities of persons with disabilities.