Dignity For Disabled: This Petitioner Is Urging To Allow People With Disabilities Travel Normally

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Dignity For Disabled: This Petitioner Is Urging To Allow People With Disabilities Travel "Normally"

Here is an exclusive interview with Namrata Sharma, who started a petition after the recent incident where a child with a disability was not allowed to board a flight by IndiGo air carrier for not behaving "normally".

'Dignity For Disability', a petition by Namrata Sharma, aims to make sensitivity training for staff mandatory. The objective is to generate empathy for people differently-abled and treat them with dignity.

Sharma belongs to the community of people with special needs as she has a partial hearing impairment. Hence, she could relate to what people from the community go through regarding accessibility and exclusion from society.

In her petition, she has asked the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to reform the Civil Aviation Requirements and make sensitisation training mandatory and bi-monthly for the staff.

Reasons For Starting The Petition

The incident behind the launching of the petition occurred on May 7, 2022, when IndiGo airline staff refused to allow a child with a disability and his parents to board the plane from Ranchi airport as he was not behaving 'normally' and in a 'state of panic'.

However, an inflight co-passenger claimed on her social media that the parents had quieted their child, but the staff still did not let them come on board.

After learning about the unfortunate incident, Namrata told The Logical Indian, "I couldn't sleep for two days after I saw the viral post. I had a newborn baby to care for, and she needed all my attention, but I still wanted to do something. As a parent myself, and a part of the community of people with disabilities, I understood the difficulties the child and the parents must have suffered. Everyone around us makes us feel different and abnormal, and there is no sensitivity towards our community. This is why I started the campaign so that at least I could help in any minimal way possible."

Lending Voice To The Voiceless

"I believe that marginalised communities are those who are suppressed, given a minority status and no say in any decision making, where 'others' steal and trample on their rights and voices."

Some time back, Namrata was pursuing a fellowship in Bengaluru when she came across the news of a training institute for the deaf community getting demolished for metro construction. She was disheartened to note this as they are already disadvantaged. They don't have a lot of institutions with technical training alongside regular studies, less accessibility and fewer teachers who teach subjects in sign language.

Sharma had the idea to start an online petition. Newspapers like the Times of India covered it and made a difference. Officials and metro authorities met in a meeting, which resulted in the postponement of the development project until proper rehabilitation of the students to another institute or relocation of the same institute.

Impact Of Online Campaigns

"I felt elated to save those children's education in Bengaluru; we created a WhatsApp group with the commissioner, school principal and media outlets. I stayed connected and updated as I was in Bihar then."

Thus, she believes that the impact of online campaigns is manifold and can make a difference in the lives of marginalised sections of society. In her 'Dignity For Disability' petition, Sharma hopes that not just IndiGo but every airline recognises the demands and helps condition their employees to treat people with disabilities in a dignified manner.

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Editor : Shiva Chaudhary
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