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Specially Abled Child in Kashmir Waiting For Justice: Social Activists

While a family was going through so much distress, no one came forward to help. No journalist covered the issue. No social/child activist came forward to raise voice for a specially abled child.

An 11-year-old boy, who despite loosing 50% of his vision was independent and well, but due to the negligence of his teachers and school authority he is now dependent on others for walking and uses a wheelchair.

Ayaan Zaffar is a student of Delhi Public School Srinagar. On 19th June, 2019, Ayaan was walking to other department to collect his Urdu notebooks while his teacher was behind him. While walking on the zebra crossing, Ayaan saw his school bus coming towards him in full speed. He started calling out for help from his teacher and the bus driver to stop. Sadly, the bus did not stop and Ayaan came under the bus.

After the accident, the school authority took Ayaan to Ahmad’s hospital, Nowgam. Even though it was a legal case, the hospital did not inform the police. After which, his parents went to the police station themselves to register an FIR against the school authority but the SHO told them to sort it out among themselves. What’s shocking, is that when the school authority approached the police to register an FIR against the driver, it was easily done.

His parents then visited many well-known hospitals in India to save the life of their child. The school authority had assured Ayaan’s parents that not only the school will bear all his medical expenses, they will also sponsor his education till 12th standard. It wasn’t long before the school backtracked on all their assurances and promises. While being treated outside the valley, his parents were in a financial crisis and kept calling and mailing the school authority but did not get any positive response.

While a family was going through so much distress, no one came forward to help. No journalist covered the issue. No social/child activist came forward to raise voice for a specially abled child.

After a lot of disappointment from every side, the parents came to Dr Chintan Sarna, Mudassir Shaban, Zaheer Jan, for help. Dr Chintan Sarna is a social activist and a child rights activist in Kashmir. He has been dealing with special kid’s cases from last 10 years.  Zaheer Jan is a Pediatric therapist and disability rights activist. Mudasir Shaban is himself a person with disabilities and a social activist.

They assured the parents to help in raising the issue and provide justice to Ayaan. They approached Ministry of Social Justice and Chief Commissioner of person with disabilities, New Delhi. Their complaint application has been accepted and a case has also been registered in court. Just a week before, a letter had been sent to the DG police for verification of the case and also to the school regarding the compensation and future education of Ayaan.

Dr Chintan Sarna says, “parents have a right to approach social workers or move to court to get justice. And as a social worker, we need to come forward and provide them their rights. Every child has rights, like right to education, right to be safe, right to be cared and raised well, right to proper care and importance from other people, and right to survival”.

Zaheer jan says, “According to RPWD Act 2016, special needs children have different rights and after 370 article these laws are applicable in our Jammu & Kashmir UT like, inclusive education is one of the important laws in RPWD Act 2016. Under the Constitution, the specially abled have been guaranteed the following fundamental rights – The Constitution secures the citizens including the disabled, a right of justice, liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship, equality of status and of opportunity and for the promotion of fraternity”.

The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.

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