Breaking Barriers | J&K to hold first-ever festival to honour Persons with Disabilities on Dec 28, 29

Srinagar, Dec 24: In a heartwarming initiative, the Jammu and Kashmir government is set to host VYOM-J&K 2023, a first-ever festival to honour and felicitate the remarkable achievements of Persons with Disabilities (PWD) across J&K.

The two-day Inclusive Purple Fest will be held at the University of Jammu on December 28 and 29, 2023.

The event would witness PWDs like Insha Bashir from Budgam and Chandeep from Jammu, both exemplifying extraordinary feats in their chosen arenas.

Insha Bashir from central Kashmir’s Budgam district is the first wheelchair basketball player from J&K. Insha has not only showcased her skills at the national level but also proudly represented India on the international stage in the United States.

She bagged a National Award from the President of India in 2022 and a State Award in 2023.

“When I started my journey to showcase my abilities there was no role model for me and there was no basketball team across J&K. But I decided to move ahead and today I have reached a level where I have achieved international recognition,” Insha told Greater Kashmir.

Chandeep, a two-time world champion and a silver medalist is the only Indian to achieve this feat in Taekwondo

“I received a State Award and Outstanding Sportsperson Award in 2019,” he told Greater Kashmir over the phone from Jammu.

Chandeep has also won a gold and bronze medal in Asian Championship and is a four-time gold medalist and national gold medalist besides being a six-time state championship award winner.

“I have remained a five-time national medalist in swimming,” he said.

Briefing about VYOM-J&K, 2023, a 2-day Inclusive Purple Fest, Commissioner Secretary, Social Welfare Department, Sheetal Nanda told Greater Kashmir that the festival would be held in collaboration with the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Department (PwD), Government of India (GoI).

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“It is a fest entirely for and by persons with disability. They will perform and participate in all the activities. The idea is to highlight their abilities which we tend to think are not there,” Nanda said.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Iqbal Lone said since J&K is the last Union Territory to implement the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPwD) Act in the entire country, the commission was rolled out in 2022 to create awareness and reach out to the last vulnerable persons when it comes to PWD.

“VYOM-J&K, 2023, is the first of its kind in J&K in which we expect the participation of over 4000 PwD across J&K in different activities,” Lone said.

He said that the activities include dialogue, sports events, and exhibitions.

Lone said over 300 participants are coming across every state and UTs of the country which include the Commissioner for PwDs across the country and the concerned Department Secretaries.

“Apart from those we expect some 50 exhibitors who have done innovations research and are experts in disability affairs,” he said.

Lone said that the entire exercise was in continuation of the commitment of the J&K government to reach out to every PwD and evolve a mechanism in which they know their rights and entitlements.

“J&K is among the top seven states and UTs in the country to reach saturation when it comes to UDID – a project in which every PwD has a UDID card to avail all the schemes and all the entitlements and State and Centre sponsored schemes whosoever is having benchmark disability,” he said.

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