NGO says 16 disabled persons ‘murdered’ in two years in Kerala, flags concern

K M George, state president of the Parents Association of Intellectually Disabled, said financial security is a matter of concern for families of many persons with disabilities.
Image used for representational purposes. (Express illustrations)
Image used for representational purposes. (Express illustrations)

KOCHI: The state has reported an alarming number of unnatural deaths of persons with disabilities in recent years, triggering calls for the establishment of care homes and welfare initiatives for the vulnerable group. Adding to concerns, some of these deaths were reportedly murders by family members concerned over the future of their disabled relatives.

According to Save Lives, an Alappuzha-based association of parents of intellectually disabled people, in the past two years, Kerala witnessed 16 incidents in which disabled persons were reportedly murdered.

“Relatives’ concerns about the safety of persons with disabilities allegedly led to such incidents,” said K Mujeeb, president of Save Lives. “Parents are worried about the future of their children, especially about leaving them unattended to after their demise,” said Mujeeb.

“The government should take initiatives to protect the rights of persons with disabilities. If we have a system — a rehabilitation or care home — to take care of disabled persons after the death of their parents, it will be a great relief to them, and it can help reduce the occurrence of such incidents,” he said.

K M George, state president of the Parents Association of Intellectually Disabled, said financial security is a matter of concern for families of many persons with disabilities.

“In many cases, parents have to spend their entire time with their children, which makes going to work impossible. The pension received of disabled persons is not sufficient even to meet the cost of their treatment and medicines,” George said.

‘Spread awareness break the stigma’

S H Panchapakeshan, Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Kerala, said though society has evolved, some families are still not willing to accept children with disabilities. “Some abandon such children at care facilities or orphanages. There have also been numerous reports of family members harming such persons,” he said.

He said Panchapakeshan parents should be more accepting of such children, and awareness must be spread to break the stigma.

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