Differently-abled cry for reservation
|Differently-abled persons protest in front of the state disability commission office in Bhubaneswar. Picture by Ashwinee Pati|
Bhubaneswar, March 1: Hundreds of differently-abled youths, including students, today locked up the offices of the state disability commission and the disability directorate to protest against the Odisha Primary Education Programme Authority’s (OPEPA) decision of not providing any reservation in recruitments for them.
Both the offices situated at Unit VI were kept locked for over three hours as the protesters squatted and shouted slogans demanding their due reservation of three per cent.
Youths from various organisations, including the All Odisha Students’ Union of Visually Impaired, the Swabhimaan, the Odisha Disabled People’s Network, Viklang Manch, the Odisha Association for the Blind and the Odisha Association for the Deaf have been agitating since Wednesday demanding cancellation of the OPEPAs’ resolution.
In January, OPEPA authorities passed an order saying that it was not entitled to provide reservation in any contractual posts since it was only a “registered society”.
“It’s a state-owned society and funded by the Centre and not providing reservation to the disabled means clear-cut violation of the Persons with Disabilities (equal opportunities, protection of rights and full participation) Act 1995,” said Sanyas Behera, state coordinator of Odisha Disabled Peoples Network. The protesters have decided to go on a hunger strike if their demands are not met.