The disabled-community in Jammu and Kashmir has sought immediately extension of the disability law, passed by Parliament last week, to the state saying it would make a “sea-change” and improve their living standards. “The Rights of Persons with Disabilities bill passed by Parliament should be extended to the state of Jammu and Kashmir at the earliest possible,” Khursheed Ahmad Malik, vice president of the Voluntary Medicare Society which works with specially-abled persons, told PTI.
As per norms, no Act of Parliament gets automatically implemented in Jammu and Kashmir until the state Assembly ratifies it on the floor of the House. Malik, who suffered a spinal injury in a road accident in 1987, said the present environment in the state was “very disabled unfriendly” and the new bill passed by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha during the winter session can make a sea change.
“The provision of punitive action will definitely bring about the necessary change in making various facilities accessible to people with disabilities,” Malik, a retired IAS officer, said.
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The Lok Sabha Friday passed the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill 2016, which replaces the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995. The Rajya Sabha had passed the bill on December 14.
Farooq Ahmad, state wheelchair basketball team, feels the new legislation should be passed immediately and wants to ensure that it is implemented on the ground. “We have seen so far that the governments have only done lip service for the welfare of people with disabilities. We are not begging for sympathy but a conducive atmosphere to compete,” he said.
Malik said even religious institutions like mosques, shrines and temples should be brought under this new legislation. “I want to pray in a mosque but I cannot find a mosque that has the facilities that will allow me to enter it,” he added.