Chennai: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Khushbu Sundar’s remarks against the Congress, with which she was associated for six years, have not gone well with disability rights organizations. She made the remarks while responding to media queries at the Chennai airport, shortly after her arrival from Delhi, where she formally joined the ruling BJP.
While speaking of her political journey, Khushbu had said that she didn’t make accusations against the DMK or Congress at the time of her exit from those parties, but said that Congress leaders had made unsavoury remarks and allegations about her and that she had to respond to.
In a reference to the Congress Tamil Nadu leadership, she said that they were seeing her merely as an actor and did not respect people while they were in the party or even after leaving the party, neither did they introspect about why people were exiting the party.
“Congress is a party without thinking ability and brain development,” she had said while making a reference to something similar that was said about her, allegedly by a Congress leader.
A statement from the Tamil Nadu affiliate of the National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) said that they were filing police complaints in all districts of Tamil Nadu seeking FIRs against Sundar for insulting and humiliating persons with disabilities. The organization condemned how time and again people holding public offices tend to invoke such negative terms to tarnish the image of political opponents, lending them legitimacy.
They pointed out that such insults and humiliation are also prohibited by law. As per Section 92 (a) of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, “Whoever”, “intentionally insults or intimidates with intent to humiliate a person with a disability in any place within public view” shall be “punishable with imprisonment for a term not less than six months but which may be extended to five years and with fine”.
The Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently-Abled & Caregivers (TARATDAC) also sought registration of FIRs against the actor, invoking these provisions. They emphasized that proceeding against high-profile people should act as a deterrent. They feel it would help in sending across the message that insult, humiliation and negative portrayal of the disabled would not be tolerated.