On the eve of 68th Republic Day, the Central government came out with dos and don'ts for Divyangs to show their respect to the National Anthem. Divyangs' associations have cautioned the government to focus on awareness rather strict than enforcement.
"There are provisions for sign language and subtitles when national anthem is played in cinema halls. But the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting does not have mechanism to implement the provisions," said A S Narayanan, General Secretary, National Association of the Deaf. Narayanan himself is hearing-impaired and gave his response with the help of a person in sign language. The guidelines were issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs in consultation with the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in pursuance of an order of Supreme Cvourt on December 9, 2016, relating to playing of National Anthem in cinema halls before the start of a movie.
"If some people attack a deaf person alleging disrespect to the National Anthem in a Cinema Hall, who will be responsible," asked Narayan, adding he himself visited some cinema halls recently but there was no sign language or subtitles. The guidelines mandate all kinds of disables except 'intellectual disables' to show maximum possible attentiveness and alertness while National Anthem is being played.
"There is no doubt about paying respect to the National Anthem but the government should focus on creating awareness among general public about the Divyangs. The people should know how to deal with disabled persons in such circumstances," said Zaved Abidi, Convener of Disabled Rights Group. The only exceptions in the guideline are intellectual disables.
"They will have behavioural problems like flapping of the hands, screaming, shouting, abnormal body movements, difficulty in performing practical tasks, etc. The public is required to be sensitised so as to avoid any unwarranted incident against persons with intellectual disabilities and they are not being harassed," said the guidelines.