Written by Midhat Fatimah
“We have not bathed since the past week and are somehow managing to go to washrooms. You really think I like lying on roads,” said Seema Singh, a 25-year-old disabled law student from Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao, who is in the national capital to protest the denial of job in the Indian Railways.
Singh is among around 200 disabled candidates who have for a second time gathered at New Delhi’s Mandi House to protest against the Railway Ministry’s failure to offer an explanation for the discrepancies in Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) exam results that were declared way back in March 2019.
“I need clarity on the status of my application for a Group D job, which was first accepted, and then rejected,” said Singh, who has locomotor disability since birth.
The candidates who have been protesting since November 26, complain that they were first sent a notification that they had qualified the exam, and after a few days, the result was declared invalid.
Naveen Meena, a 26-year-old M.Com from Kota who has been leading the protest, claimed that the discrepancies in recruitment occurred because the Railways Ministry conducted the exams under The Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995 whereas it should have been conducted under the provisions of The Rights of Person with Disability Act (RPwD), 2016.
“It was only after the Delhi High Court sent an order to the Railways Ministry to implement RPwD Act when the RRB issued new notifications of disqualification of candidates,” Meena, who has the locomotor disability, added.
“Unlike the disqualified candidates who got their scores, the candidates who qualified the examination received messages informing that their scores will be revealed at the time of document verification. However, for most of the candidates, the document verification didn’t happen,” she said.
Seema Singh, who is one of those candidates who got to the stage of document verification, alleged that though the Indian Railways acknowledged its mistake and promised jobs, no candidate has yet been offered a job.
The PwD Act had seven categories for the handicapped, but with the revised Act of 2016, 14 more categories were added. According to Meena, the implementation of the RPwD Act after the declaration of exams introduced a fourth category— Multiple Disability—which was not mentioned at the time of exam application.
The candidates said that this time they will not go back without proper answers.