Volume 6 Issue 9 - October 15, 2009

Finally, Chandigarh Administration comes around

D.N.I.S. News Network, India: Chandigarh is not Vatican, said an angry Javed Abidi, Convenor, Disabled Rights Group (D.R.G.). After weeks of playing a ping - pong match with the National Trust over the guardianship of a mentally retarded girl and her unborn child, Chandigarh administration seems to have finally realized this. They have now agreed to assume full responsibility of the girl and her child. This decision was taken by the Administrator of Chandigarh, General (Retd.) S.F. Rodrigues in a meeting on October 5, after Home Secretary Ram Niwas continually dragged his feet from assuming the States responsibility.

In a meeting on October 1 in New Delhi, the National Trust had offered an assistance package to the Chandigarh administration. This offer included a corpus fund of Rs. 8 lakh for the girl under its Gharaunda scheme, a Sahayogi (carer) for five years, and a health cover of Rs. 1 lakh under the Niramaya scheme.

However, the representatives from Chandigarh administration led by Niwas vociferously opposed this offer and said that the final decision would rest on Governor Rodrigues.

It may be mentioned that several disability rights organizations including D.R.G., Parivaar, A.A.D.I., and Muskaan had written to Governor Rodrigues urging him to direct the Chandigarh administration to act as per the mandate of the Supreme Court and U.N.C.R.P.D.

Although the Chandigarh administration seems to have finally woken up to its responsibilities, the case is far from closed. As per media reports, Niwas has refused to accept the aid offered to the girl by the National Trust.

The Chandigarh administration cannot turn down the package, as offered by the National Trust. The support is not for them! It is for the girl and she deserves it, said Abidi.

The Supreme Court had earlier upheld the right to motherhood of the girl who became pregnant after being raped at a government run shelter in Chandigarh. In its judgement, the apex court directed the Chandigarh administration to look after the girl and her child and asked the National Trust to provide all assistance. However, the Chandigarh administration not only tried to shirk its responsibilities but also misled the media into believing that National Trust had promised to assume guardianship of the girl and take her to Bangalore.

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