Demand made for legal recognition of sign language
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Last Updated: Friday, December 03, 2010, 18:00
New Delhi: As the differently-abled persons celebrated World Disability Day on Friday, the hearing impaired people sought legal recognition of sign language in India.

"Nobody knows sign language. No training and nothing. So we are demanding that sign language should be recognised as a language of India just like any other -- Tamil, Punjabi or Urdu," said Javed Abidi, Director of National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP).

Hundreds of differently abled people from different parts of the country assembled at India Gate today under the banner of NCPEDP to celebrate the World Disability Day.

Abidi said yesterday he made this demand to Home Minister P Chidambaram as the issue of languages falls under his ministry. "The minister has given an assurance that he would look into the demand," Abidi told PTI.

He said an official recognition to sign language would boost the dreams of the hearing-impaired and make them believe that they can pursue higher education and jobs.

The differently-abled people also demanded a separate ministry -- ministry of disability affairs -- for them as they constitute 6 to 7 per cent of the country's population.

"The logic is that if there are separate ministry for NRIs, separate ministry for North East Affairs and separate department for women and child welfare, then why there is not a separate ministry for disabled people," Abidi said.

He said at present disability affairs is "just a small division" in the Ministry of Social Justice and Welfare headed by a joint secretary. "We are 6 to 7 per cent of the country's population. As long as we continue under the social justice ministry, we will never get our rights," he said.

Addressing the gathering of the differently abled people, who will be specially enumerated in 2011 census exercise, Census Commissioner C Chandramouli said numbers help the government plan for the better future of the country.

"We plan for better future. That is what we are doing today. And what planning needs, it needs numbers," he said.

"We need to know how many you are. We need to know what you do, where you are located, what is your educational status, what is your marital status and what language you speak." He said the entire socio-economic, demographic, cultural profile is what the Census Commission is looking for.

"It has been a year now since we have started working together. And I can assure you, it has been a very enriching experience, a very humbling experience. And working together has made the entire thing meaningful," he said.

Statistics is a dry subject and people do not value numbers, he said adding, "To many of my colleagues, they think counting, numbers, putting together them such a boring job.

"But I would like to assure you when I see all of you, these numbers have meaning. It is the number which will tell us what has to be done in the future."


First Published: Friday, December 03, 2010, 18:00

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