Babul Supriyo Should Step Down As Minister, Stay At Home, Say Activists

Kolkata based disability rights activist Jeeja Ghosh, is beyond words over the speech by the Union minister. She might call for legal action under the RPD Act 2016.

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Babul Supriyo says as there was some chaos at the event, in jest he tried to control the situation.


Kolkata: 

With no arms and a hump on his back protruding through his pink shirt, 38-year-old Jagannath Das was busy writing - yes, writing - with a pen between his toes. Mr Das was writing a message in his impeccable handwriting to his favourite singer and Union minister Babul Supriyo.

Just a few words in Bengali. 'Babul Da, Dukko Pelam' ...Babul Da, I am hurt.

Mr Das works with people with special needs at the "pratibandhi village", which is run by a network of disabled peoples' organisation -- West Bengal State Pratibandhi Sammelani. It has been around for 20 years, in Kolkata, with 170 boarders and another 200 day scholars, who face a wide spectrum of challenges - autism, cerebral palsy, hearing and speech difficulties.

And it is on behalf of all these people, that Mr Das is heartbroken. "Babul da is a normal person. He won't understand the pain, the hurt, the challenges of disabled persons. He shouldn't have said what he did," Jagannath said.

Kanti Ganguly, a CPM leader who has been deeply involved in the disability rights movement for years, was careful in his condemnation of Mr Supriyo's words.

Mr Ganguly is also the general secretary of the Rajya Pratibandhi Sammelani.

"Mr Supriyo is a Union minister, an artist. I cant understand how he spoke like this. Moreover, his party helped pass the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 that makes abusing, or mocking or making hate speech at persons with disabilities a punishable crime," he said. "Mr Supriyo should know that," he added.

Kolkata based disability rights activist Jeeja Ghosh, who the Election Commission is roping in for its campaign for "accessible elections", is beyond words. "The minister should step down and stay at home," she said, adding also a threat of legal action under the RPD Act 2016.

The Union minister Babul Supriyo was at a function at his Asansol constituency, to give away wheelchairs, tricycles and crutches on Tuesday. A man walking about in front of the stage upset him into the insensitive outburst.

"What happened, sir, any problem? I will break one of your legs and give you a crutch. You go and stand there," he told the man and, signaling his security, he says, "Next time he moves from there, break his legs and give him some new lathis."

There has been no apology as yet, except a statement on social media saying, ""There was play acting going on. I was saying things in jest. There was some chaos at the event. In jest, I was trying to to control the situation. Those who were there, they all know. Everyone was clapping, they were having fun. A portion of that conversation is being shown. I have nothing to say. Media will do its job. I will do mine."

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