For the first time in Kerala Assembly, the woes of short-statured persons were heard with nominated member Simon Britto demanding that dwarfs also be treated as physically challenged persons.
With some of the 'short men' watching from the visitors' gallery, Britto, who became partly crippled after a student violence in campus in the eighties and is now living on a wheelchair, narrated the grievances faced by them.
Through a submission, Britto, once a firebrand SFI leader and now an Anglo-Indian nominee in the House, said dwarfs should be given all the benefits extended to physically challenged persons. He also demanded reservation in educational institutions and government services and setting up of welfare fund and pension scheme for the short people.
In her reply, Health Minister PK Sreemathi said the government would hold discussions with the representatives of short people and consider their demands.
She said an amendment to Central Act would be required to include them in the category of physically challenged. Later a group of dwarfs along with Britto met ministers of various departments and submitted memorandum.