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Give Jobs or Let Us Die: Differently-Abled Protesters to Railways

Thirteen protesters vow to end their life on 3 December if government officials don’t restore job promises. 

Updated
India
3 min read
Protesters at Mandi House after the rain.
i

On Delhi’s Mandi House road, 13 protesters with benchmark disabilities have been on a hunger strike for days in an attempt to get the attention of the government and India’s largest employer, Railway Recruitment Board of Indian Railway (RRB).

“We have not eaten for three days, but the government has not sent any medics to check up on us,” says Mani Kumar, a 25-year-old from Bihar.

The protest is one of five that started after the Railway Recruitment Board released the results of the written exam taken by the people in Group D, a category for people with disabilities. The protesters were shortlisted for the job, but after revision, were no longer included.

“Everybody encourages us to study, but in the end, I am not getting a job,” says Kumar. “Instead, my family is asking me not to come back because they realised they couldn’t take care of me forever.”
Mani Kumar, 25-year-old from Bihar, has been on a hunger strike for 3 days.
Mani Kumar, 25-year-old from Bihar, has been on a hunger strike for 3 days.
(Photo: The Quint)
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“My family knows I am on strike, but they are not calling me back because they want me to assert my rights,” says 25-year-old Bhavana Yadav. “I should get this job; this isn’t justice.”

  • Group of protesters who vow to end their lives if their demands are not made.
  • Protesters on hunger strike for three days.

The protesters started their hunger strike three days ago and vowed to end their lives on 3 December, which is the International Day of People with Disability, if the government does not address the issue.

“We have sent a letter to kill ourselves to the prime minister. If you are not going to listen to our demands, then at least give us the permission to kill ourselves," says Yadav. “We want jobs. How long are we going to live off our parents? Eventually, I need to take care of myself.”
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The protesters have been sleeping on the cold road for three days, and the government has only sent a water tank once.

Mohammad Aslam Ansari, a daily wager from Jahanabad, Bihar, travelled nearly 20 hours to Delhi by the Purushottam Express to demand answers from officials and also to assert his rights as an Indian citizen – but he fears his voice will go unheard.

“We get food from an NGO sometimes, and we had a water tank, but they complained that it was blocking traffic, so they took it away because we are a burden."
Aslam Ansari, Daily Wager
BHU Kamar says he is  unable to get any other job than government jobs.
BHU Kamar says he is unable to get any other job than government jobs.
(Photo:The Quint)

“It rained heavily twice, but the administration has not met us,” said BHU Kamar, a 25-year-old from Jaunpur. “We have been waiting here in the hope that someone would come and speak to us.”

(From Left to Right) Mohammad Aslam Ansari and  Pittu Prasad Sharna  sit on cold pavement for the third day in a row.
(From Left to Right) Mohammad Aslam Ansari and Pittu Prasad Sharna sit on cold pavement for the third day in a row.
(Photo:The Quint)
According to the protesters, 25,000 differently-abled candidates were suddenly dropped from the list by RRB. They also claimed that the general category applicants were appointed as usual, but Group D was treated differently.

“We are a burden on our family, we are a burden on the government,” said Pittu Prasad Sharna, a 28-year-old from Griridh, Jharkhand. “I am a burden if no companies want to employ me, and the government also doesn’t want to employ me.”

The protest was only supposed to last for three days, but many protestors like Sharna are opposed to leaving Delhi without a job in hand.

“We thought we could trust the government, but we were disillusioned and betrayed,” said Sharna. “We feel like substandard citizens, and we are not leaving until we get a job or die sitting."

  • Some of the thirteen protesters who are on a hunger strike.
  • PwBd protesters at Mandi House.
  • Differently-abled protesters hide from the rain underneath a bus.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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