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Panjab University polls 2017: Not blind to equal rights, says visually-impaired vice-presidential candidate

punjab Updated: Aug 30, 2017 11:04 IST
Arshdeep Arshi
Arshdeep Arshi
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Panjab University,equal rights,visually-impaired candidate

Badri Prasad, who is 100% visually challenged, is AISA’s vice-presidential candidate at Post Graduate Government College, Sector 11, Chandigarh.(HT Photo)

“We are not blind to equal rights,” says the 21-year-old vice-presidential candidate of All India Students’ Association (AISA) at Post Graduate Government College, Sector 11.

Badri Prasad, who is 100% visually challenged, will be contesting the student council elections at his college on September 7, the same day as Panjab University and its all 11 affiliated colleges in the city go to the polls. “Representation of disabled students is an issue,” says Badri. “We are always sidelined. By contesting the elections, I want to tell the students that we too have equal rights.”

Badri had lost his eyesight at the age of two after he suffered from chicken pox. A resident of Chhoti Karoran in Mohali, he is a second-year BA student. His subjects are Hindi, music and political science.

‘Fighting for full fee waiver’

“There are nine visually challenged students in the college,” said Badri. “When we took admission here, we realised we need representation. So we all decided to fight for our rights.” Badri said Panjab University charges no fee from visually challenged students, but the college took full fee from such students when he took admission in 2016.

“We joined AISA and struggled for lower fee. Now we pay half the fee,” says Badri. “We will work further for full fee waiver.” At present, only those visually impaired students get full waiver who are below poverty line.

‘Contest on real issues’

Badri says all student parties, except AISA, are only concerned about garnering votes. “Many come to us and seek votes by reminded us that they dropped us somewhere,” he says. “This is not an issue for us. We are independent enough to go wherever we want on our own.”

The main issue that we faced was that we were not being provided a writer during the examinations. We fought for it, and now the office of director, higher education, will pay for the writer.

Vijay Kumar, president of the city’s AISA unit, said: “We had nominated Rohit Kumar, another visually challenged student, for the post of vice-president in 2016 as well. They have an equal right of representation in the elections.” Vikas said the party is also discussing the possibility of fielding a transgender student. There are two in the college .

First Published: Aug 30, 2017 11:04 IST