Mumbai: State Level Association of the Deaf Organises Peace Morcha at Azad Maidan

SLAD demands that Maharashtra government provide trained interpreters to answer helpline calls made by the Deaf through Video Remote Services

Mumbai: State Level Association of the Deaf Organises Peace Morcha at Azad Maidan

In continuation of their August 25, 2023 protest - State Level Association of the Deaf, Maharashtra staged their protest again at Azad Maidan, Mumbai oon October 10, to get their basic rights from the Maharashtra Government. 

Earlier the government had promised to fulfil the demands, however, nothing was ever done. The SLAD is not going to sit quite as these demands are for the benefit of the Deaf community.

The SLAD has put across eight demands that are necessary for the Deaf community. Here are the 8 demands.

1. Various government jobs vacancies available in Maharashtra are advertised in the newspapers. Under the 3% disability reservation, vacancies for Deaf are advertised, however, these are higher education jobs like graduates, B.E etc. But the Deaf education system in Maharashtra is very poor and most of the Deaf are only SSC or HSC passed. There are hardly any highly educated Deaf. A high percentage of Deaf are not very well educated. The government must change its policy. Government must change its policy and make job vacancies suitable to the Deaf who are not highly educated as currently there are no colleges for them.

2. Maharashtra government has already passed a GR in 2007, however, they neither implemented it nor announced it.

It says, during selection, priority must be given in descending order starting from profound Deaf who have 100%, 90%, 80% hearing loss. Deaf with 70%, 60%, 40% deafness should be kept lower in the priority list. Priority should be Deaf with higher hearing loss.. Then why have so many people with mild hearing loss or hard of hearing selected for government jobs? The demand is to change this.

3. When the government of Maharashtra announced job vacancies for the Deaf, these included Group A jobs which are higher officer level jobs. Then is Group B which are different, then is Group C which include clerical posts and then there is Group D which include the peon level jobs. These are 4 different categories and written exams including GK are held for selection in all the groups. SLAD demands that the selection procedure should be separate. While there should be an examination for selection in Group A and B officer posts, there should not be a written exam for Group C and D posts. Selection should be based only on an interview. This is because a similar rule has been passed in Madhya Pradesh and SLAD wants the Maharashtra government to implement the same. 

4. The next demand is about accessibility. All the helplines used for helping people in distress are not accessible to the Deaf. SLAD demands that Maharashtra government provide trained interpreters to answer helpline calls made by the Deaf through Video Remote Services. These can be for emergency services like police, court, fire brigade etc. SLAD demands accessibility!

5. All those who have been selected in Maharashtra government jobs from 1995 to 2023 should be tested again. This is because till date many have been selected by showing fake disability certificates. Deaf have been suffering because of these fake certificate holders. Hence all disability certificates should be re-assessed and those found fake, should be punished. SLAD demands that the vacancies available after dismissing people with fake certificates, should be filled up with suitable Deaf. 

6. In Maharashtra, there are a lot of residential Deaf schools which have separate accommodation for boys and girls. There are hostel wardens as well. Male wardens should not be employed for girls hostel as the girls would feel unsafe due to molestation, sexual assault etc. SLAD demands that the male wardens of girls hostels be removed and replaced with female wardens. They demanded male teachers in girls' schools be replaced by female teachers as there is a possibility of male teachers exploiting the female students.

7. Section 66 of the RPWD Act 2016 states that all government committees should have representation by persons with disability including blind, locomotor disability and Deaf. Till date no one had been selected. SLAD demands to reinstate both the Deaf leaders in the advisory board. 

8. SLAD also demands a sign language cell to be set up in Mantralaya which will have 2 deaf experts & one interpreter who will work on solving the problem of the deaf community and sensiting the hearing community on sign language.

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“Earlier on August 25th, 2023 during our protest Sumant Bhange, Chief Secretary of Social Welfare Ministry of Maharashtra had promised to organise the meeting with the CM of Maharashtra in 8 days time, but till today the meeting is not planned & we as deaf people are still suffering to get our basic human rights. We need the government of Maharashtra to fulfil our all demands”, said  Pradeep More, General Secretary, SLAD.

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