Following criticism from disability rights organisations regarding her remark that the Congress had no “mental development”, actor and BJP functionary Kushboo Sundar on Wednesday evening apologised for the comment. Earlier in the day, disability rights groups had filed online police complaints against her.
“We have lodged an online complaint against her and we have requested that an FIR be registered against her under Section 92 (a) of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, as also under other provisions of the IPC,” said S. Namburajan, general secretary, Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of all types of Differently-abled and Caregivers.
Following this, in a statement, the actor-politician apologised for the “incorrect” use of a few phrases, which she said were used “in a moment of hastiness, deep distress and anguish”.
According to her, she was not just sensitive to the diversity among people, but also valued it and gained hugely from it. “I realise that leaders in the past have also made similar references, and as much as I am disappointed by the inadvertent distress that I have caused many, I am now equally determined to ensure that I do not repeat this, ever, whatever the motivation maybe. I also dedicate myself to ensure that the voices of those with psychosocial disabilities are valued and heard, as they should be,” she added.
The National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) and the December 3 movement too said that the terms she used were insensitive.
“While Kusbhoo Sundar has every right to politically take on her opponents, usage of terms that invoke a negative portrayal of disability is unacceptable. Time and again, people holding public offices have invoked such negative terms to tarnish the image of political opponents, lending them legitimacy,” said Muralidharan, general secretary, NPRD.
The NPRD further said that action against high-profile people who make such statements should act as a deterrent, sending the message across that insult and humiliation of the disabled, as well as their negative portrayal, will not be tolerated.