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Parliament session winds up, disability groups urge passage of Bill

Hold dharnas outside Cong, BJP offices, Meet Rahul and Jaitley to garner support to get bill passed before session ends on friday.

New Delhi |
Updated: February 18, 2014 4:55:00 am
Rahul Gandhi meets members of disability rights groups on Monday. (Ravi Kanojia) Rahul Gandhi meets members of disability rights groups on Monday. (Ravi Kanojia)

Members of the Disability Rights Groups (DRG) staged a dharna outside the Congress and the BJP offices on Monday, seeking for the smooth passage of the Disability Rights Bill during the ongoing Parliament session, which is scheduled to come to a close on Friday.

Members of the rights groups also met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi at the AICC headquarters. While assuring their support, they blamed the BJP for not allowing the House to function.

“I am with you and accept cent per cent whatever you are saying. Your demands are right. Parliament should run and pass these Bills…You continue to do what you are doing. Build public opinion for the Bills. All these Bills can change the country in different ways. These are the consensus Bills which will benefit the people of India. I urge the Opposition that they decide a day and help us in passing these Bills… these are important Bills,” he said.

When rights activists complained that police had used water cannons at them during their demonstration, Raul Gandhi said, “If they tell you that they will chase you away with water cannons, you call me to sit with you there.”

DRG members also met the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley.

“Jaitley assured us that BJP supports the rights of the disabled, but said the passage of Bill would be possible if the Ministry of Social Justice took the initiative. He suggested that if members of the BJP and the Left parties, along with representatives of disability groups, sit with the Minister of Social Justice, the Bill may not have to be referred to a standing committee. Unfortunately, the minister has not been very proactive,” Abidi said.

The DRG also staged a dharna outside the residence of Minister of Social Justice Mallikarjun Kharge. They are expected to meet the minister on Tuesday.

The activists had stood united two months ago when the Cabinet had cleared the draft Bill to replace the 1995 law. Disappointed with the draft, the disability rights groups had sent a list of 20 “non-negotiable” recommendations to the government.

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