‘For too long, Nagaland has ignored, excluded, isolated and neglected its citizens with disabilities’
Kohima | December 3
Eight months since the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 came into force, Nagaland State is yet to implement its Nagaland State Disability Act. This was highlighted as a concern during the observation of the International Day for Persons with Disabilities in Kohima today.
Disability rights activist, Diethono Nakhro, speaking during the occasion, said that despite the 1995 act on disability a right being in place for more than 20 years, not even a single law contained in it was ever properly implemented by the Nagaland government.
She regretted that none of the directives issued by the Supreme Court have been complied with properly either. “People with Disabilities have thus remained ignored and marginalised with their rights violated by the State Government and society at large,” she stated, while asserting that the same failure should not be allowed to happen with the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016.
She urged the Nagaland Government to make rules for carrying out the provisions of the Act not later than six months from the date of commencement of the Act.
“We are now completing the eight month since the new Act was enacted and sadly the Nagaland State Rules are yet to be notified and hence implementation is yet to begin,” Nakhro said.
“The overarching principle is to empower people with disabilities to be active contributors of society. It is based on transformative changes envisaged in the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development, a global framework that aims to strengthen the resilience of people with disabilities by providing full access to justice, health care services, infrastructure and accessible communities. It focuses on inclusive education, lifelong learning, and sustainable economic growth through employment,” she said on this year’s theme.
Stating that Persons with Disabilities are not demanding anything extraordinary, she said “We are just asking that our right to live as equal citizens with equal opportunities in Nagaland be recognised.”
She urged for strong political will to ensure the fruition of an ‘inclusive and enabling Nagaland.’ “For too long, Nagaland has ignored, excluded, isolated and neglected its citizens with disabilities. This is not only unfair – it is morally wrong,” she said.
Dept will try its best to implement act at the earliest: Merentoshi
Parliamentary Secretary for Social Welfare, Merentoshi R. Jamir meanwhile assured that the department will try its best to make sure that the Act is put in place at the earliest.
“Right now it is in final stages,” he said adding that it will be taken to the cabinet for approval and then to the Assembly for consideration and passing. He also informed that the department recently received approval for the Nagaland Juvenile Justice Act.
Informing that some ramps have been constructed in the Nagaland Civil Secretariat, he believed that an elevator will be installed very soon. Jamir meanwhile lamented that schools in Nagaland are yet to be made barrier free.
He said that the Election Commission of India has made it mandatory that every polling station should be barrier free, and informed that 900 schools will be made barrier free in the state. He also assured that the department is committed to implement all ministry guidelines.
“I don’t believe disability is an illness,” he said adding: “be brave, be stronger.” He also called upon every individual to do whatever they can for Persons with Disabilities. “We have to cater to their needs but we should not make them feel inferior,” he added.
Social Welfare Director T Merangtsungba Aier meanwhile informed that there are more than 29,600 identified Persons with Disabilities of different categories in Nagaland at present.
Aier also regretted that the District Disability Rehabilitation Centers are not satisfactorily functional. “There is hardly barrier free in the government offices and important places,” he said.