Under Persons with Disabilities (Equal Oppurtunity, Proctection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, the human rights of a Person with Disabilities (PWD) are safeguarded. However, even after two decades of this act, these people still have to face discrimination and endure social stigmas, even in urban Indian society.
The fine example of this is the case of SpiceJet airline offloading a lady with cerebral palsy in February 2012, thus violating her human rights. This news is making rounds nowadays, owing to the fact in May 2016 SpiceJet fined 10 Lakh by the Supreme Court , as compensation.
On February 19, 2012 Jeeja Ghosh, a 46-year old teacher at Institute of Cerebral Palsy, Kolkata was going to attend a conference on rights of PWD. This frequent flyer was offloaded from a Kolkata-Delhi SpiceJet flight thereby violating Civil Aviation Requirement Guidelines, 2008. To this, Justices AK Sikri and R K Aggarwal, this week pronounced the compensation to the lady who underwent “physical and mental suffering experiences” due to this which should be paid within two months.
To this compensation, Miss Ghosh replied that it was important “not the amount but the punishment… it will set a precedent to others not to take such matters lightly.” On other hand, Justices said by quoting Joseph Shapiro “Non-disabled people do not understand disabled ones.” Continuing it further, SC said, “What non-disabled persons do not understand is that perons with disabilities also have some rights, hopes and aspirations as well. They do not want to depend on others… They can be independent and self-reliant. They do not want sympathies of non-disabilities.” The court opined that she is exemplary, who despite her disabilities had achieved so much in life and is a valuable citizen of India.
Nevertheless, along with Ghosh, another activist and a professor of Delhi University Anita Ghai faced the similar situation in January when allegedly she was not provided with a wheelchair thus had to crawl after de-boarding in Delhi.
Such incidents raises question at the fact, though Indian Constitution is accommodating and a true believer in equality, but why Indian minds are still hell bound to defy it and deny people with their human rights. When are we going to be sensitive enough to let everyone be on equal grounds and respect their being?
Even if in metros we have PWD sensitivity, then also you can hear people saying why in ladies coach, why can’t they have a seat in general coach or with the driver, or in universities where there are someone from this 4-8% of Indian population, then people try to mock them, fool them or sympathize them; however to such reactions I only have one thing to say, try to imagine yourself in their shoes, in their state where they are not only suffering physically but psychologically as well, then think if your daily problems are bigger or theirs, if you are more blessed or they (frankly speaking they are more blessed because at least they don’t discriminate like us, and they know how to convert odds to their strengths).