Para-athlete forced to sleep on train floor seeks meeting with railway minister | other sports | Hindustan Times
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Para-athlete forced to sleep on train floor seeks meeting with railway minister

Suvarna Raj, the 34-year-old para-athlete who was forced to sleep on the floor of a train she was travelling in, wants Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu to accompany her on a train journey to understand the issues faced by differently-abled passengers

other sports Updated: Jun 28, 2017 17:29 IST
Para-athlete Suvarna Raj was given an upper berth despite her requesting for a lower one.
Para-athlete Suvarna Raj was given an upper berth despite her requesting for a lower one.(Rishabh Atray/Twitter)

Railway minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered an inquiry after para-athlete Suvarna Raj alleged that she was forced to sleep on the floor while travelling in a train.

According to Raj, who had bagged two medals at the Thailand Para Table Tennis Open 2013, she was provided an upper berth in the Nagpur-Nizamuddin Garib Rath Express although she requested for a lower one.

To make matters worse, her fellow passengers didn’t want to exchange the seat as well which meant she had no option but to sleep on the train floor.

Raj moves around in a wheelchair and Twitterati posted a number of pictures of the para-athlete facing the problem.

A polio infection at a young age meant Raj suffered from 90 per cent disability but she didn’t want to give up on her dreams.

In an interview to news agency ANI, Raj said, “I want to meet Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu and tell him about the problems we have to face while travelling in trains.”

Shortly after, the minister tweeted back to ANI stating, “Have ordered enquiry in the issue. We are serious about ensuring smooth travel for Divyangs.”

However, that didn’t seem like the only solution to the 34-year-old Raj. “I don’t want any inquiry, I want permanent solution for persons with disabilities,” she responded.

Raj said that she was appalled at the reaction of the fellow passengers and thus wanted the Railway Minister to accompany her on a journey to have a look at the kind of problems para-athletes face while commuting.

Besides being a para-athlete, Raj is also an activist and recently represented Yogendra Yadav’s party Swaraj India in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections and had contested from the Babarpur ward in North-east Delhi.

She is also a part of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment’s ‘Accessible India Campaign’, which worlds towards achieving worldwide accessibility for people with disabilites.