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Boy Highlights Struggle For Disabled Indians

May 25, 2014 by  

Boy Highlights Struggle For Disabled Indians, The nine-year-old boy dressed in blue lay listlessly on the pavement in the scorching Mumbai summer afternoon, his ankle tethered with rope to a bus stop, unheeded by pedestrians strolling past.

Lakhan Kale cannot hear or speak and suffers from cerebral palsy and epilepsy, so his grandmother and carer tied him up to keep him safe while she went to work, selling toys and flower garlands on the city’s roadsides.

“What else can I do? He can’t talk, so how will he tell anyone if he gets lost?” said homeless Sakhubai Kale, 66, who raised Lakhan on the street by the bus stop shaded by the hanging roots of a banyan tree.

Lakhan’s father died several years ago and his mother walked out on the family, his grandmother told AFP.

A photograph of him tied up appeared in a local newspaper this week, sparking concerns among charities and the police, and he has since been taken into care at a government-run institution.

But activists say his plight on the streets comes as little surprise in India, where those with disabilities face daily stigma and discrimination and a lack of facilities to assist them.

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