Police Lathi Charge Deaf Protesters in Pune

Pune police mercilessly lathi charge thousands of Deaf protesters, who were waiting outside the State Social Welfare Department in Pune. Completely insensitive to the problems of the community, the po

For a very long time Deaf people in Maharashtra have been fighting the government for their basic rights to education and accessibility in the society. These demands have continuously been ignored by the government. The State Level Association Of Deaf (SLAD), organised a protest outside the office of the State Social Welfare Department in Pune on 25 February 2019.

Thousands of Deaf arrived at the location at 9 am. They had given time to the Department till 2 pm, to fulfil their demands. They said that they would not leave till all their demands were approved. One of the Deaf protester said that the the police had barricaded them like animals are kept in the zoo. When one of the protesters tried to get up, he fell on the barricade and the Pune Police lathi charged all of them.

One of the protester Pradeep More the General Secretary of SLAD climbed on top of a wall and tried to calm the protesters in Indian Sign Language. In order to communicate with a large group of deaf people, a person has to stand at a height to be visible to the group.The Pune Police were totally unaware about this and misunderstood the situation. They thought that, he was provoking the protesters.

This proves that the Police need to be educated about how Deaf people communicate, they need to be sensitised about the problems of deaf community. Lathi charge on a community just because you can not understand them, is not acceptable.Simply suspending these police officers, will not solve the problem. The Police need to be trained to understand people with disabilities. Ignorance can not be an excuse for mistreatment.