A disabled man was pushed outside the Chennai’s MA Chidambaram stadium by none other than an Assistant Police Commissioner. This is what has happened to a disability rights activists who despite having tickets to the IPL match, could not get past the gate of the stadium due to lack of parking space.
With IPL going on at full swing, stadiums across the countries can be seen fully packed. IPL, which is viewed more as a mode of entertainment rather than a sporting event has hardly seen a drop in footfall since its inception in 2008.
Most of us prefer to watch these action-packed matches to get a dose of fun, nail-biting action, and a chance to see their favourite player to perform well. However, for Deepak Nathan, 39, professor at Loyola College, the experience did not go well. Deepak while talking to The Logical Indian shared his “most humiliating incident”.
He said that it was his first experience of watching a match at a stadium which turned out to be sour as he couldn’t enter the stadium despite having a ticket. “I had never been to a stadium, and as I got some good reviews this time from my family members, I decided to experience it.” Deepak made his mind to go to witness the thrilling match between Chennai Superkings and Mumbai Indians on May 7 in MA Chidambaram stadium. His brother-in-law arranged a ticket for him, as Deepak was not sure how to get the tickets. However, little did Deepak know that getting his ticket from his brother-in-law and parking his car in the stadium would turn into a strenuous task.
Initially, the plan that was laid down by his brother-in-law was that Deepak would park his vehicle at Marina Beach parking space as there would be a lot of hustle bustle near the stadium. It is there when he will receive the ticket from his brother-in-law, and from there on he will call for an auto to reach MA Chidambaram stadium. As he was told, he went ahead to park his vehicle at Marina Beach. However, he was met with the cops who asked him for his reason for parking and directed him to park at the stadium’s parking lot. “I understood that it is difficult for the officials, as summers have already set in and scores of people have started coming to the beach in the evening.” Later on, he took a left from the Marina Beach and continued on the Walajah Road in the direction of the stadium to find a place to park his car and get the ticket from his brother-in-law, who was also near the stadium area. “The entire road was filled with cops who were making sure to keep the traffic moving,” he said.
After taking several rounds of the stadium amidst the intense crowd, Deepak found a place near State guest house to meet his brother-in-law. He received the ticket. “I received the ticket and found that the entry gate as No. 13”. I looked around to figure the gate and realised that I have already passed the gate before reaching the State guest house.” The gate was just a few feet away, so Deepak took a u-turn and reached in front of the entrance.
Uncivil police behaviour
On reaching the gate, Deepak asked the police official about the availability of the parking spot in the stadium. The officials asked him to leave the area as he took the wrong direction. Deepak on his stand mentioned that the reason he had to take the wrong route because the cops were not allowing him to park. Deepak explaining the situation to The Logical Indian said, “One of the constables was generous and asked me to leave the area and park my vehicle in the Marina Beach parking space as no parking space available in the stadium.” It was not an easy task for him as Marina Beach was 3 km away from the stadium. “All of a sudden the assistant commissioner who was sitting in his police jeep yelled at me and asked to get out of the premises”. Deepak was shocked and moreover could not believe his ears as to how a senior official could react in such a way.
Couldn’t watch cricket despite having a ticket
I was not allowed to even enquire, “Is there any provision for disabled parking?”. Assistant commissioner abused verbally, physically pushed me despite having a valid ticket. We are returning back home. Never in my life i have ever watched cricket in the stadium and never i would prefer to watch ever again becoz of these humiliations by police. Will ever this police officers tried to understand the disabled people do need parking? Will ever this designs for programs bear in mind that there is segment called disabled people. The constable was patiently explaining to me, but the Assistant commissioner sitting in the jeep started yelling at me…” Avana po Sollu ya”….how will i be able to even ask anybody, by not going through the car? I had been rounding and rounding obliging the police but this police officer pushed …..poya….i said oonamutravar!!!! Adhuku ennaya!!!!! ,I told , am a citizen!!! Adhuku !!! Ellavanum than!!!!!
I feel , am disabled by this yuck attitude of police…..
Pls guide what to do?
Posted by Deepak Nathan on Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Deepak got out of his car and went ahead to explain the situation to the assistant commissioner about his situation and pleaded with him to let him enter. The assistant commissioner refused to hear and asked him what can he do about his situation.“The Assistant Commissioner lashed me with verbal abuse and pushed me while asking me what is he supposed do about my disability,” said Deepak.
After this, Deepak handed over the ticket to his brother-in-law and left the stadium disheartened, furious, and most of all humiliated.
Inclusive policing not done right?
Stressing on the fact that it was a cruel way for anyone, let alone somebody of the stature of an Assistant Commissioner of treating people, Deepak raised a question over lack of inclusive policing lessons among the cops in the state. He also asked how can one citizen consider a cop friendly when he behaves arrogantly?. He said that the way cops treated him in front of the stadium, he has lost interested to enter a stadium ever.
Deepak further said that he reached out to the Commissioner of Police, Dr A.K Viswanathan, who later regretted the incident and also assured that issues raised by him would be kept in mind for future.
Cricket stadiums not friendly for disabled people?
Deepak did not know about the different set of norms that IPL has brought for disable people. However, after getting to know about the policy, Deepak questioned the “Reasonable Accommodation” that disabled people are entitled to.
To book a ticket by a differently abled person for M.A. Chidambaram Stadium
- The differently abled person who is on a wheelchair can only book tickets (special seats).
- The tickets will be only available at the box office counter and will depend on a first come first serve.
- The tickets will only be provided on showcasing their disability certificate at the box office.
- The stadium will not provide any wheelchair.
- Entry only from Pattabhiraman Gate
Deepak frowned upon the fact that how can the stadium authorities not arrange a simple wheelchair for a disabled person. Explaining the reasonable accommodation policy, he drew an example. He said that if a disabled man has his office on the second floor and there is no lift available, then under the reasonable accommodation policy, the office has to provide him with a desk at the ground floor to work.
The Logical Indian Take
It was shocking to see a cop holding such a high-rank talk rudely to a disabled person who sought help. Time and again we have come across stories where a disabled person becomes the victim of abuse. One must understand that disabled people are no less human than us, and deserve as much compassion as any of us do. It is also imperative for the authorities to ensure that public places are accessible for all, thereby promoting a more inclusive culture.
While in India, the government has tried to make the public places as convenient for disabled people, but several areas are yet to be worked upon. While the government can be appreciated for their work on making the metro station, airports, railway station friendly for the differently abled person, but areas like cricket stadium, sea beaches, movie theatres are still not preferred by them due to the inconvenience caused.