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May 7, 2005

Deaf and dumb protest against 'occupation' of their office

From: Kashmir Live, India - May 7, 2005

Express News Service

Jammu, May 6: KARAN Kumar, a deaf and dumb, ekes out his living from the click of a camera. The annexe of his house makes up for a studio where from he receives orders to get pictures of marriage parties prepared. He was on a silent protest today along with many other deaf and dumb. They did'nt raise any slogans but the police were on the spot to prevent anything untoward from happening.

Kumar and his other colleagues were protesting over the alleged 'occupation' of their association office. ''The association office where from we were operating, has been occupied. We are on the road,'' said Roshan Bhan, honorary secretary of the Jammu and Kashmir Association of the Deaf.

The association has been working for the rehabilitation of the deaf by offering them vocational training. ''Some 500 deafs are associated with us. We work for their welfare,'' Bhan said.

Many of the deafs associated with the association today poured on the streets seeking that their office be restored to them. They blocked the road at Jain Bazar causing disruption to traffic. Their leaders were responding to them to remain united. ''The association was established in 1975 by Ram Lal Arora who was himself a deaf and dumb. He was elected as the founding president of the association in the same year. He opened the head office in his own house here,'' added Bhan.

However, joint secretary of the Rashtriya Sewika Samiti (RSS) Prem Lata Gupta begs to differ. ''We have been kept here by the trust itself. The orphans of militancy are being rehabilitated here and they are being nurtured with the spirit of patriotism,'' she said.

The association of the deaf has been contending that some among the deaf and dumb were harassed when they opened the office room and they were given a severe thrashing and thrown forcibly out of the building.

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