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Mumbai Police Chief asks cops to deal empathetically with problems faced by disabled people

D.N.I.S. News Network - In a bid to sensitise Mumbai cops to the problems faced by disabled people, Police Commissioner A.N. Roy has issued a directive asking his men to deal sternly with those harassing disabled people and to take special care while dealing with complaints relating to them.

The directive states that disabled people must be given preferential treatment at police stations and that police officers should meet them outside the police stations to register complaints if the person concerned has difficulty in commuting.

In the directive, issued through a circular, Roy has also asked his men to arrest anybody who makes derogatory remarks against any disabled person and help them while boarding buses, trains and crossing roads.

This proactive initiative by Mumbai Police Chief has not only been welcomed by the disability sector but has also led to a demand by Mumbai-based psychiatrists that the provisions should not be restricted only to people

with orthopedic disabilities but extended to include people with mental disabilities.

According to a local media reports, noted psychiatrist Harish Shetty has sent a letter to Roy describing the “stigma” that the mentally impaired have to face and suggested that they be protected like the physically impaired persons. “These people face a lot of stigma at their workplace, in their families and during travel. The National Human Rights Commission and State Commissions have taken cognizance of cases of violation of their rights,” Shetty said.

People with mental disabilities also needs such extra attention, said Dr. Janvi Kedare, who is the Secretary of the Bombay Psychiatrists Society. “Since the mentally disabled are always neglected, it is essential to include this category in the circular issued by the Police Commissioner,” she asserted.

The psychiatrists have also alleged that when a mentally disabled person is brought to a police station, the police personnel are not aware of provisions of the Mental Health Act. They have also urged the Commissioner to conduct an awareness campaign to improve awareness among his men.