Over 150 people took out a silent march from Dadar station to Shivaji Park on Tuesday to mark International Day of Persons with Disability. The main objective of the walk was to get the Indian sign language recognised. The march was supported by Vimantlal Parisar Rahiwasi Ekta Sangh among other organisations.
All associations working in the State for the welfare of the hearing impaired came together under the banner of Unity of all Deaf Associations, Maharashtra.
Subhash S. Gaikwad, advocate and member of Vimantlal Parisar Rahiwasi Ekta Sangh, said, The way to building an inclusive space would be to include sign language into the educational curriculum. Children will be sensitised regarding the communitys issues and they can also learn the language. He said the objective can be achieved through the recognition of the hearing impaired communitys needs and granting them visibility so that their problems are seen and solved. Communication is primary to any human connection and just because someone cannot hear for no fault of theirs, they should not be deprived of it, he said.
Pradeep More, general secretary, State Level Association of the Deaf and member of the hearing impaired community, said, We have been raising demands for the welfare of the community for a long time but the authorities are yet to take concrete steps for the benefit of people who cannot hear. Indian sign language should be given official status. Mr. More said he would like to see the Indian sign language included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution as the 23rd official language.
He said, There are provisions for people with mobility issues and people with other disabilities, but I do not think the community has any representation. We hope the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment takes up our cause.
The community recently had started an online campaign called #InclusionofIndianSignLanguageinIndianConstitution.