Historic Gathering of Persons with Disabilities at India Gate

On February 3rd 2014, more than 15,000 people with disabilities from all over India gathered at India Gate in Delhi to show their support for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill 2013. It was probably the largest gathering of persons with disability in the history of India. The protest was called by the Disabled Rights Group (DRG) to pressurize the government to table and pass the RPWD Bill in Parliament in the current session. The RPWD Bill was drafted in 2012 but has yet to be passed in the Parliament to turn it into a law. If the Bill is not passed in this session of the Parliament, the Bill will lapse.

People started gathering at the Janpath – Rajpath intersection near India Gate as early as 10 a.m. There, the people were informed about the Bill and its various aspects and there were lively discussions. As the crowd swelled, the police became tense. But the gathering was peaceful and calm. People kept coming and joining the protest throughout the day.

While the protest was going on, Javed Abidi, Convener, DRG and Syamala G, AADI had a meeting with the Secretary of the Ministry of Law about the Bill. After their meeting, Javed Abidi addressed the crowd and informed them of the discussion that had taken place.

In the afternoon, around 3 p.m., the crowd assembled to start moving towards Rajpath. But the police, seeing the large crowd, barricaded the road and blocked it. Abidi negotiated with the police to persuade them to remove the barricades and allow the people to pass. The police finally relented and removed the barricades. The crowd then marched upto Rajpath and congregated in front of India Gate. A.S.Narayanan and Zorin Singha of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) addressed the crowd. They informed the people of the future plan of action and the crowd then finally dispersed around 5 p.m.

People with different disabilities came together to show their collective support for the RPWD 2013 Bill and to demand their rights. There were representatives and members of associations, clubs and schools from all over India. They came from big cities and small towns. There were men and women, families with young children and babies, as well as very old people who had come to show their support. They carried placards and banners saying “Hear our voices”, “Stop the Disability Bill from dying”, “We want Rights, not Charity”, “Disabled Rights right now”, “Pass Disability Bill as per UNCRPD guidelines”, etc. The effort people made to come to Delhi from all corners of India truly showed how much their rights are neglected and how necessary it is to pass this Bill.

Written by Andesha Manja

Video Interpretion of News

Newspaper Articles

Words of Support by Leaders

Several leaders extended their support for RPWD by writing their messages on the t-shirt worn by Arti Umrotkar.


National Association of the Deaf
Deaf Enabled Foundation
Bombay Foundation of Deaf Women
Deaf Entertainment
Mook Badhir Mandal
Speaking Hands Institute for the Deaf
LEED, Pune
Yuva Association of the Deaf
Archana Ampoules Pvt. Ltd.

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