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"Politicians ignore us because they do not see the disabled as a potential vote bank."
--Javed Abidi, organizer of India's Disabled Rights Group, which is demanding the country's political parties pay more attention to the rights of people with disabilities

Indian Activists Demand Equal Access
September 10, 2004

NEW DELHI, INDIA--A group of more than 100 disability rights activists gathered Friday in Mumbai to demand that the country's politicians pay attention to their rights, according to OneWorld South Asia.

Later this month, the activists will submit a 4-page memorandum to India's six major political parties, urging leaders to make the upcoming elections fully accessible to voters with disabilities.

The coalition, under the umbrella Disabled Rights Group, noted that in the most recent election the Election Commission did not make voting places accessible, as required by law, including failing to provide ballots in Braille.

"Politicians ignore us because they do not see the disabled as a potential vote bank," explained DRG organizer Javed Abidi.

The DRG also wants leaders to guarantee equal access to information, education, employment, buildings and public transportation.

"Its high time we stopped looking at disability from a medical perspective," said Abidi. "It is not a disease."

"India's Disabled Meet to Press for Basic Rights" (OneWorld South Asia)

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