Saturday, December 06, 2008

Visually impaired students ask for special schools

The world for them is dark but they illuminated the evening on Wednesday by lighting candles with a hope that those having normal sight will help them in mitigating their sufferings. “Allah, give us the strength to fight the injustice…” prayed Zakim Manzoor and Saima Hassan as they lit the candles.

Both Zakim and Saima, are eight-years-old and are visually impaired and the group including other handicapped students had lit the candles outside the Press Enclave here on Wednesday seeking justice on the World Disability Day. The students were concerned about their future as according to them government has done little so far for the disabled people.

“From 1998 to 2008 only 60 handicapped educated students have been absorbed in different sectors,” said Tariq Ahmad. Tariq, a visually impaired but a determined student is pursuing M Phill in history from Kashmir University. Tariq said it is very difficult for visually impaired students to pursue higher studies if the authorities have not provided the required facilities. “I know how difficult it is since I have passed through all this,” Tariq added.

The students were demanding setting up of special schools for the disabled students in every district. “Why is it taking so long for the government to introduce Braille education system in the Valley so as to encourage visually impaired students to pursue higher studies,” said another student, Shaleel Ahmad. He said the 2001 census had shown that there were three lakh disabled people in the Valley.

And out of this number 1, 80000 people are visually impaired. The number would have definitely swelled up for past six years. But government is doing nothing for us. We also want higher education and jobs. We don’t want to become burden on our families but government has failed to do anything so far except paper work,” Shaleel said. And for a hope to get jobs, the students were seeking implementation of the Disability Act 1998.

“The act gives three percent of reservation to the disabled persons in the government sector but government is not implementing it,” said Ajmal, studying in 8th class. Ajmal is handicapped by his left leg. Another issue worrying the students was issuance of fake disability certificates to people. “Rich and influential people are eating into our share now by getting the fake certificates issued against their names. Nobody is listening to us,” said Ajmal.


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