Sri Lanka’s disabled to shed light on poll campaign

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s disabled are entering parliamentary elections for the first time as an organised group to draw attention to their plight and pressure political parties to guarantee minority rights.

Those with physical disabilities — including amputees, deaf and blind people and slow learners — are fielding candidates to contest Colombo and Gampaha, the largest electoral districts, at the August 17 polls.

"We want to use this election to draw attention to the plight of disabled persons in the country," group leader Prasanna Kuruppu said. "We asked every household in Colombo and Gampaha to mark one vote for our independent group."

He admitted that it would be an uphill task to win a seat, but was hopeful of securing at least one for their group: "Raising our voices For us."

He is appealing to political parties to make a firm commitment to ensuring that persons with disabilities will have a "barrier-free, independent life with equity" so that they live with dignity.

Kuruppu, a former air force officer, said he lost his legs during the island’s separatist war in 1990 and was aware of the hardships disabled people were going through.

The group’s symbol in Colombo is the computer while in Gampaha it is a horn. (Colombo/July22/2015)

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