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President Kalam urged to make voting disabled-friendly

DNIS News Network - The Disabled Rights Group (DRG), a non-political advocacy group, has appealed to the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, to impress upon the Election Commission to concede its five-point demands to facilitate smooth voting for the more than 40 million physically disabled people.

In a representation to the President, DRG's Convener, Javed Abidi said, "Time is running out. With every passing day, it will become that much more difficult for the nation to ensure that disabled people are not discriminated against in this election also. There are only five very simple things that the Election Commission has to do in order to make the 'general' elections disabled-friendly. [See cover story: 'Five easy steps to make General Elections 2004 disabled-friendly'.]

Abidi has written that the officials in the commission were very apathetic towards the problems that disabled persons face. The activists lamented that disabled people had no role to play in India's democracy, hailed as the biggest in the world.

"Voting centres do not have ramps for people on wheelchairs, or ballot papers in Braille to help the visually impaired to vote. Even the hearing impaired are not allowed to vote," Abidi said.