Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir has more than 3.6 lakh physically challenged people and the numbers have increased due to over two decades of violence, say statistics released here Wednesday by an association representing them.
Dozens of members of the all J&K Handicapped Association also began an indefinite hunger strike here to protest what they say is a raw deal to physically challenged people by the state government.
According to statistics released to mediapersons by the association here, the largest number of handicapped people belongs to the twin border districts of Kupwara and Baramulla in the valley which remained the worst affected because of the separatist violence during the last two decades here.
"There are 38,530 physically challenged people in Kupwara district while their number is 39,421 in Baramulla district," said a member of the handicapped association.
The number of disabled people released Monday does not include thousands of mentally challenged people who fell victim to depression, insomnia, behavioural disorders and mental trauma because of the disturbed situation in the state.
The physically handicapped people on a hunger strike here demanded reservations in government jobs, enhancement of monthly financial support from the existing Rs.400 to Rs.1,500, introduction of the Braille system of education from nursery to the university levels in the state, subsidized loans, residential plots, free education for their children, separate counters to be opened for collecting government revenue from handicapped people, and providing artificial limbs, diesel motorcycles instead of tricycles to disabled people.