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Disabled community urges Modi not to call them 'divyaang'

Source: PTI
January 22, 2016 22:32 IST
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Several disabled people’s organisations on Friday strongly objected to the use of the term 'divyang' to address the community and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to not use it to replace 'viklaang'.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had during his radio address Mann Ki Baat on December 27 last year said that physically-challenged people have a 'divine ability' and the term 'divyang' should be used in place of 'viklang' for them.

'Even while not questioning the motive behind coining this expression, it is needless to say that mere change of terminology is not going to bring about any change in the manner in which people with disabilities are treated. Invoking divinity will not lessen the stigma and discrimination that persons with disabilities have been historically subjected to and continue to encounter in their daily lives,' the organisations said in their letter to the PM.

'We would like to reiterate that disability is not a divine gift. And the use of phrases like divyang in no way ensures the de-stigmatisation or an end to discrimination on grounds of disability,' they said.

They further said that the government should address the issues of stigma, discrimination and marginalisation that persons with disabilities are subjected to on account of the cultural, social, physical and attitudinal barriers that hinder their effective participation in the country’s economic, social and political life.

'We would therefore request you to refrain from using the term divyang and also shelve any plan that the government may be making to officially use this term,' they said in the letter.

Even on Friday, while addressing a rally in his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi, Modi said that he wanted the people to change their mindset towards the physically challenged and that is why he wants the word divyang to be used by the commoners.

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