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Volume 2 Issue 8April 15, 2004
- Accessibility to elections: A global overview
India is far from being the only country where just getting to a polling station in order to cast a vote can be an impossible feat. Elections throughout the world are a challenge for people with disabilities.
- Enabling act
He is a man who says: 'Where there is a will, there is a way.' For years he has never tired of fighting for the cause of India's 60 million disabled people. His efforts, and his colleagues' timely help, led to the passing of the 1995 Disability Act. He speaks of disabled people as an invisible minority: not as subjects of charity or sympathy but as productive and resourceful people, able to contribute to the country's exchequer. A lone crusader of sorts, he is now engaged in a battle with the Election Commission to make the poll process disabled-friendly. He is also ready to stand as a Lok Sabha candidate from New Delhi constituency, unmindful of winning or losing but certain to send a clear message across the board. Meet Javed Abidi, Executive Director of National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) and Convenor, Disabled Rights Group (DRG), who spoke about the course and direction of the nascent disabled movement to Syed Sultan Kazi, the day before DRG planned a gherao of the office of the Election Commission on April 2.
- Poor access to polling stations is a bar to democracy
The lack of facilities at polling booths for disabled voters has been highlighted by the campaigning NGO Disabled Rights Group (DRG).
- Protestors demand their democratic rights
Disabled Rights Group signalled its dismay at the authorities' "lackadaisical approach" by planning a protest in front of the Chief Election Commissioner's office at Nirvachan Sadan, New Delhi.
- Independent candidate slams big two parties for ignoring significant minority
Disability rights activists have branded as insensitive the political manifestos of the BJP and Congress parties.
- Accessibility is not an expensive issue
Disability Rights Group has outlined how little it would cost for election authorities to make the forthcoming elections disabled-friendly.
- CEC agrees to meet DRG representatives
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) T.S. Krishnamurthy has agreed to meet with a seven-strong delegation of leaders of the Disability Rights Group on April 5.
- DRG puts demands to Krishnamurthy
Representatives of DRG present to the Chief Election Commissioner five simple measures that would make polling booths across the country accessible to disabled voters.
- High Court orders report on disability bar
The Union Government has failed to meet yet another deadline from the High Court to explain why it is denying entry to the Indian Administrative Service for qualified disabled candidates.
- President meets disability campaigners
Rashtrapati Bhavan was the setting for a meeting between President A.P.J. Kalam and leaders of the Disabled Rights Group on April 8.
- EC issues response to DRG's election demands
Disability Rights Group activists have expressed deep disappointment with the response of the Election Commission to demands to make polling booths fully accessible in the Lok Sabha elections.
- Javed Abidi to fast unto death over EC's "apathetic attitude"
Disability Rights Group Convener and activist Javed Abidi has announced his intention to conduct an indefinite fast in an attempt to force the Election Commission to issue a new statement on polling station accessibility.