SRINAGAR: Members of the All J&K Association of the Deaf gathered at Pratap Park in Srinagar on Monday to press for their demands.
The association sought introduction of sign language at deaf schools in Kashmir and provision of Indian sign language interpreters. They also pressed for a back log disability reservation of 3 percent in jobs and a college for the deaf.
In a memorandum to government the association also sought for land for construction of a school, playground and office.
The state of infrastructure and amenities provided to differently-abled in Kashmir is dismal. J&K has around 361000 persons with disabilities, as per 2011 census. There are 68000 persons with blindness and 92777 persons with speech and hearing disabilities in the state.
Ifra, a student with locomotor disability says that they are an “abandoned community”.
“How can we expect the government to make special provisions for us when they can’t even adhere to demands of normal people such as arranging basic heating facilities in schools during winters. Nobody cares about us.”
Kashmir’s educational institutions including schools and colleges are ill-equipped to cater to the needs of the different-abled. Most lack basic facilities like ramps or elevators for the students with locomotor disabilities, even when the government has issued guidelines for creating friendly infrastructure for the differently-abled.
Lack of professional special educators has made it even more difficultfor such students to access regular schools.