After The Summer Unrest:Disabled Persons Doubled, Mental Illness On Rise In Valley4 January 2011
Srinagar: The number of physically disabled persons has doubled and mental illness cases increased considerably in the Valley during last 10 years of turmoil, prompting authorities to count the number of persons having ‘mental illnesses in Census 2011. According to Census 2001, there were around three lakh physically challenged persons across Jammu and Kashmir. “The figure has risen to over seven lakh during last 10 years,” an official of Census Department said. Attributing the increase in disability cases to the prevailing militancy in the State, Joint Chief Principal Census Officer C S Saproo said, “Jammu and Kashmir has been witnessing explosions, blasts, firing and clashes during street protests and these factors are leading to rise in population of physically challenged persons”. Ge was participating in a Census awareness rally organized jointly by Humanity Welfare Organization and Census Department of J&K. The official said the number of the physically challenged persons could be higher as some of the families don’t want to make their disabilities public. “Due to the social stigma attached to it, some of the cases go unreported and unnoticed. Some people don’t want to be identified as physically challenged,” he said. The rally was also attended by J&K Handicapped Association, JK Deaf Association, Chotay Taray Foundation besides persons with disabilities. Organized in the run up to the upcoming Census 2011 during February 9-28, the rally was aimed to draw the attention of authorities towards the welfare of disabled persons. Saproo said they will try to get exact figures of the disabled persons in the upcoming census, which will benefit the community. “If there are more disabled persons, they will get the funds accordingly. Disabled persons should also participate in the census so that their exact number is known and accordingly measures for their welfare would be taken,” he said. He said the disturbance has also caused mental illness among the people. “In the question 9 of Census, the enumerators will seek the information regarding the disability of a person. People should cooperate with the enumerators and provide correct information,” Saproo said. “We have over one lakh deaf and dumb but government has not taken any initiative for their welfare,” said Chairman Humanity Welfare Helpline Javaid Ahmad Tak, who led the rally. He said the turmoil has led to rise in mental disability, which needs to be counted in the coming census. Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Mehraj Ahamd Kakroo, who also accompanied the rally, assured the participants that he will take up their demands with the government for their welfare.