Millennium Post

Specially-abled protest for Railways jobs enters 8th day

New Delhi: "This government has just changed our name from 'disabled' (viklang) to 'specially-abled' (divyang) and done nothing else for us. We don't need new names — what we need is jobs," Manish Paswan (26) from Bihar's Gaya said, who is on a hunger strike along with 12 other specially-abled people, who have been protesting against the Central government not calling them for Group-D jobs in the Railways.

However, as the protest entered its eighth day on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the irony of specially-abled people protesting for jobs they qualified for does not escape Paswan. Speaking to Millennium Post, another protester at Mandi House said they hoped at least on such a day the government would take cognizance of their agitation and act on their demands.

Meanwhile, the PM on Tuesday reaffirmed his government's commitment to "keep working towards an inclusive, accessible and equitable future for our Divyang sisters and brothers" in a tweet.

While the government has said that a lot of people had not scored the required 28 percent marks for the jobs, Akhtar Ali (29) from UP said that every single person he knows and is protesting has secured more than this cut-off mark. "If the government does not believe that we have the required marks, then they should check our documents, our scorecards," Ali continued.

Protestors said they were not called for document verification or subsequent procedures associated with the selection of candidates for the vacant posts.

Narrating his ordeal, Gopal Kumar, from Bihar, pulled out his scorecard, saying about 62,000 vacancies were put out by the authorities. "An exam was conducted where we qualified for the vacant posts. It has been 10 months and we have neither got an appointment, nor an explanation for the delay," he said. Kumar also said that in the 62,000 reserved seats, 3 percent reservation is there for People with Disabled (PwD) category.

In fact, Paswan went on to question why the reservation should even exist if it is not being implemented properly. "I myself have scored 49 and so many others have scored way beyond 28 percent marks. So why is no one responding to our demands?" he asked.

While some railway officials did visit the site of the protests, protestors said nothing has been communicated to them about the way forward.

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