Make the Indian Railways Disabled-Friendly: Open Letter
Virali Modi has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu, describing the problems people like her with physical disabilities go through on a daily basis.
She highlights the issues when it comes to accessing public transport and urges them to look for ways to make the Indian Railways disabled-friendly.
Also Read The Story Of Preeti Monga: She may be blind, but she’s far from disabled
Here’s Virali’s open letter:
Dear Mr. Railway Minister and Mr. Prime Minister,
I have concerns, sir. I’m a disabled US citizen living with an OCI in Mumbai, India. When I first came to India, I had to travel via train to Delhi. It was my first experience traveling as a disabled woman in India. I was extremely excited and worried at the same time because I knew that India wasn’t fully wheelchair accesible, like the US.
Upon reaching the train station, where the ramps were broken and bumpy, I finally reached the platform from where I was to board my train. I kept looking around thinking that there would be a ramp to board the train, but there wasn’t. I had to be physically carried inside the compartment into my seat, all while being manhandled. This has happened three separate times. I was carried and lifted by porters, with no safety measures because there aren’t any ramps or lifts to get into a train safely.
This has happened between the years 2008-2014. I’ve been reluctant to travel in trains because like any other woman, I do not like being manhandled by grown men. It’s a shame that this happens in our day and age. It’s also pointless to file a complaint because I have no proof of the manhandling except my scarred mentality.
Upon hearing the news about The Tejas Express and the great work that you do to help out our population, I was intrigued to see if there were any facilities for those with physical disabilities. Upon reading the article, I was surprised that there were facilities for those with visual impairment. I applaud you for that. Yet, I’m disheartened that there aren’t any facilities for those with physical disabilities.
I’m sure you must be knowing, India is a country where 2.1% of the population is disabled in some way or form, according to the consensus report in 2001. It’s 2017 now, I’m sure that number has doubled now. It’s sad that the disabled population is almost always overlooked.
In late 2016, The Disability Rights bill/movement was passed, creating immense joy among the population. Isn’t it our right to use ‘public’ transportation? Why should we spend X number of money in traveling via plane when we can easily travel in a train, if made accessible?
Sir, I request you, please look into this matter. Please give us our rights back. We are fully entitled to use the trains provided by our government. This also includes the public trains that run locally throughout Mumbai and in other metropolitan cities.
Happy New Year, sir. Let’s make 2017 disabled friendly. Jai Hind.
Please share across your social media platforms! Help make 2017 accessible!
Life wasn’t always same for Virali Modi. Ten years ago, she met with an accident and was in a coma, living off a ventilator. But she tricked death and came back to life as gracefully as in the past.
WATCH Virali’s stunning spirit:
Earlier, in one of her FB posts, she wrote about her life since the accident that changed her life. An excerpt reads,
“Within the last 10 years, I gained more self-confidence and won second place in The Miss Wheelchair India pageant in 2014. I started writing about my life’s experiences on Quora and earned 58,000 followers that are getting inspired and motivated by my writing, while I create a future for myself. I’ve become a motivational speaker and have been graced by standing ovations. I started pursing modeling and acting, although I’m still waiting for my big break. Last but not least, I’ve started to bring awareness about disability through my writing, because there isn’t much awareness in India, unfortunately.”
— Virali Modi (@Virali01) November 12, 2016
Feature Image Credit: India Times
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