Over 50 visually challenged students and graduates assembled outside the DPI campus on Tuesday morning demanding fair employment opportunities for all. They insisted on meeting the Social Welfare Minister B Valarmathi, who they claimed had promised to provide employment opportunities last year. “Last year when we protested the officials had promised to meet our demands, that’s why we gave it up. Since then, none of us have been placed in any school or varsity,” said R Raja, a PhD graduate in Tamil language who has been to over seven colleges in the last few months for interviews. He claimed that most of the interviewers passed discriminatory comments. “They would ask questions like ‘Will you be able to climb four floors to take a class’..... The usual comment would be ‘We shall get back to you’ but they never do,” he said.
As many as 233 visually impaired people have cleared the National Eligibility Test and the State Eligibility Test in Tamil Nadu this year, and there are over 162 aided institutions in the State each having minimum 30 departments. In 2013, the Supreme Court directed the Centre and the States to provide three per cent job reservation to disabled persons in all their departments, companies under the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act of 1995. While it has been enforced in New Delhi, Mumbai and a few other places, activists allege that TN did badly in this aspect. “Nobody wants to hire us. They plainly tell us ‘What is it that you can do that a normal person can’t’,” said Vinod.
After a day long protest at the DPI, the group walked to the Secretariat and gave their petition to the principal secretary of Higher Education department. They will attend a meeting with the State Commissioner for Disabled and the Principal Secretary at 11 am on Wednesday.
Source : The New Indian Express , 23rd Sep 2015