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."