How much apathy do the differently-abled face in our society? An event organised to discuss their rights gives us a sneak peek.
On the last day of the ‘5th Smart Cities India 2019 Expo’ held at New Delhi’s Pragati Maidan, a panel was invited to speak on the accessibility of public transport for the differently-abled. Motivational speaker and disability rights activist Nipun Malhotra, one of the members of the panel invited to talk on ‘Redefining Public Transport’, was however not provided a ramp to the stage.
Nipun Malhotra who is wheelchair-bound, took to social media to share the disappointment. “Ironic…No ramp at a smart city panel. I was invited to speak on accessibility but it was a struggle to get on to the stage, ” he wrote in his tweet.
Ironic…No ramp at a smart city panel. I was invited to speak on accessibility but it was a struggle to get on to the stage pic.twitter.com/3kJyhYizBB
— Nipun Malhotra (@nipunmalhotra) May 24, 2019
Eventually, Malhotra’s wheelchair had to be hoisted four steps for him to speak at the podium. The negligence of the organisers was criticised by netizens.
Accessibility is a joke in India. I know because I’m building tools for Accessibility and now everywhere i look i see nothing but zero help for the differently able.
— Kshitij Aggarwal (@funkyidol) May 25, 2019
— Allana (@AllanaHarkin) May 26, 2019
Disgraceful. A temporary stage built with steps when a wheelchair user us invited to talk about accessibility?! There’s no excuses for this failure to plan. Or do they think you’re “differently abled” – your different ability being to levitate or even fly like Superman?
— John Dunne (@safc4ever) May 26, 2019
Born with arthrogryposis, a rare congenital joint contracture, Malhotra runs an organisation called Nipman Foundation that helps persons with disabilities. “It was greatly disappointing and strange that they could not even devise a temporary ramp, even as their panel hoped to discuss access of public transport for the disabled,” Malhotra recounted his experience to News18.