HDC, HI observes Int’l Day for PwDs at Kashmir University
Srinagar, Dec 03: On International Day for Persons with Disabilities, experts today said that population of differently-abled surged due to Kashmir conflict, pressing for implementation of JK Disability Act 1998 for the “sustainable development” of this chunk of pollution here.
Senior Journalist and Editor-in Chief of Rising Kashmir Shujaat Bukhari said the conflict of past two decades has increased the population of disabilities owing to land mines, pellets and blasts but state has no policy to rehabilitate the people though state designed a policy in 1998.
“It is said we got independence 67 years ago but so many decades passed the disabled people are still struggling for their rights. For their right to live with dignity,” he added.
He stressed on the audiences, social activists and officials to act on ground rather than resorting to rhetoric.
The function was organized by an NGO- Hope Disability Centre (HDC) and Handicap International supported by European Commission Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection (ECHO) here at Convocation Complex, Kashmir University (KU) on Wednesday. This year’s theme was “Sustainable Development: The promise of technology” set by United Nation for this year’s day.
Speaking on the occasion Director Social Welfare Gaznafar Ali said government needs to implement the 1998 Act and can be amended for public good.
He said government officials are not serious over the issue of disabled as they are not sensitive towards it. “Government is sensitive to make walking ramps for election booths so that disabled can vote but no ramp is available in offices so that these disabled can approach an officer,” he said.
Ali said he is ashamed as he could not even shift his office from second floor to first floor for convenience of disabled persons. He stressed on the differently abled people to fight for their cause and they will found him always with their cause. “Together we will help each other to solve the issues and difficulties,” he added.
Speakers on the occasion said the act promises equal opportunities; protection of Rights and full participation but it has not been implemented as the legislation has failed to do the justice with the people facing disabilities.
They said the disabled persons in JK have no access to public transport, foot paths, libraries and government buildings and thus live a life of segregation and isolation as state has no policy to rehabilitate the people in terms of independent living.
Head Department of Social Work, Peerzada Muhammad Amin said the state has enough resources for any plans but lacks proper planning.
The speakers unanimously agreed that the persons having some disability are gifted with special abilities, which are enriched with best talent and are important part of society and need special care and rehabilitation to reduce their dependency.
Aamir Ali, State Nodal Officer for Persons with Disability stressed for imparting job oriented trainings to this section of society besides providing them better avenues for obtaining quality education so that they exhibit their talent and earn their livelihood with dignity and honour.
The speakers also emphasised for providing easy accessibility in government offices to the physically challenged persons by constructing ramps and other necessary ways.
The speakers also highlighted the role of physically challenged persons who have contributed a lot in the field of administration, education, science and technology and urged upon the physically disabled people to take maximum benefit from the State and centrally sponsored schemes.
A victim of land mine Muhammad Gulzar Mir of Kupwara narrated his story of suffering and subsequent struggle for new beginning of life after the incident. Mir lost his two limbs in a land mine blast while rearing cattle in 2002.
Mir used to sell Kashmiri shawls outside state before the incident but after he lost his limbs he does not lost the hope. “I got myself operated and by the help of many NGOs and good humans I got artificial limbs and I am now doing my routine job in my agricultural land at home”.
Mir said he filled a case against army as he was victim of their mine and won. “I was given 12 lac rupees as compensation which helped me to take care of education of my 3 daughters and 3 sons”.
The function was attended by more than 2000 people from various walks of life including local, national, and international NGOs, media, civil society, professors, and, students.
Among other dignitaries who participated include Project Officer DRDA Budgam, Riyaz Ahmad Beigh, Director Helpline Javeed Taak, Executive Director Hope Disability Centre Sami Wani, and Hope International’s State Project Manager Mehran Khan.
At the end of the function, specially-abled children performed cultural programs while famous singer Rashid Jahengir entertained the audience with his melodious voice and kept the audience enthralled.