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President meets disability campaigners

DNIS News Network -- Rashtrapati Bhavan was the setting for a meeting between President A.P.J. Kalam and leaders of the Disabled Rights Group on April 8.

The disability activists are campaigning for polling booths to be made fully accessible to all voters. They wanted a meeting with the President to ask for his intervention in their dealings with the Election Commission.

In a meeting that lasted 45 minutes, the activists, led by DRG Convener Javed Abidi, explained the problems faced by disabled people when attempting to exercise their democratic right to vote. They outlined five steps needed to ensure a fair, accessible and secret ballot for all voters, demanding better transport, ramps and Braille signage, along with sensitivity towards people with invisible disabilities such as hearing and speech impairments. (See feature 'Five easy steps to make general elections 2004 disabled-friendly', DNIS, April 01, 2004.)

The group came away satisfied that the President was sympathetic to their cause. He assured the delegates that he would take up their concerns with the Election Commission and called for the development of new technology to help disabled people cast their votes.