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Is WSF only for the able-bodied?

Bijoy Venugopal | January 18, 2004 18:16 IST

At the close of the second day of the World Social Forum, a fleet of nearly 50 wheelchairs advanced upon the venue. Their occupants, holding lighted candles, converged in a circle outside one of the smaller food courts. Their ire was clearly directed at the organisers.

"World Social Forum!" shouted a leading voice. "Shame, shame, shame, shame!" the others chorused.

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"The WSF represents women and children's groups but has nothing for the disabled," said Hradesh Kumar, 20. He lost his leg seven years ago at his hometown in Moth, near Jhansi, when a drunken relative set off a loaded gun at his aunt's wedding. He now uses crutches.

The National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People, which organised the protest, has given him a scholarship to pursue the course for a B Tech degree at JSS Academy, Noida. Its agenda is to campaign for converging disability with other human rights.

"Five to six percent of the world population is disabled and India has about 6,000,000 to 7,000,000 of them," says Hradesh, prattling the statistics. "We are only asking for five minutes to have our say."

Does that cost an arm and a leg?

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Number of User Comments: 4

Sub: WSF-the assemblage for 'celebration of / for awareness'?

At the margins are not only disabled and challenged persons but even such new categories from among urban people like 'bill victims' of infocom, telecom, ...

Posted by manjeet chaturvedi

Sub: World Social Forum

Is WSF is only for the able bodied? No doubt the anguish expressed by the handicaped engineering student is appropriate. Such forums along with other ...

Posted by I I Joseph

Sub: Your last comment is just as insensitive as the WSF!

Hi, What was that last comment again? 'Does it cost an arm and a leg'? Did your author/ess think s/he was being funny? Strange, I ...

Posted by Neil Shastri

Sub: WSF: Disabled persons ignored?

This is only a minor incident compared to the whole scale and concept of the meeting, I think....I just have to congratulate the WSF [organizers] ...

Posted by Rema


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