Volume 2 Issue 16 - August 15, 2004

Physically disabled boy fights for the right to study

DNIS News Network - Mohammad Irshad Alam, a 17-year-old physically disabled student, has filed a petition in Guwahati High Court after being refused admission to Assam's Jorhat Engineering College, despite having cleared the joint admission test.

Picture of Irshad Alam, who is fighting for his right to study in Assam's Jorhat Engineering College.

Alam suffers from post-polio residual paralysis of the limbs. He cleared the Joint Entrance Test for BE courses in the college and was selected on merit in the reserved list for physically challenged candidates. But the counselling board, headed by the director of Technical Education of Assam, denied him admission saying he wouldn't be able to work long hours in the college workshop.

The counselling board asked him to get a fitness certificate from the Guwahati Medical College. However, the orthopaedics department said his disability meant he would not be able to stand for long periods and was therefore not capable of working in a workshop in an engineering college. Alam said that assumption was false: " I can stand on my own for hours at a stretch." He also pointed out that the computer engineering course he had applied for did not require long periods of standing in a workshop.

Alam, with help from disability activists, filed a petition in Guwahati High Court to fight the authority's decision. Justice Ranjan Gogi directed the Assam Government to file an affidavit on the next hearing and directed the state government to keep one seat vacant in the BE course for the petitioner pending the verdict on the case.

This is not the first time Alam has been denied admission to continue his education. Last year, he cleared the medical entrance but was denied a seat on account of his disability, being told he was not physically fit to be a doctor. Following the case he may even be able to reapply for the medical entrance exam.

Alam is currently attending classes at the engineering college and is deciding on where his future, which should be a bright one, will lie.

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