'Religious superstition adding woes to people with disability'


By A Staff Reporter, Kathmandu, May 23: Stakeholders working in the sector of religion and people with disability have found out that disabled people are being more vicitimised from their family and society because of religious superstition.

Speaking at an interaction organised by National Inter-Religious Network Nepal (NIRN) with support from World Vision International in Kathmandu, the stakeholders revealed that disabled people are becoming victimised more from the society that believes in the superstition that disability is the result of the sins of previous birth. People with disability are compelled to undergo many psychological pains because of wrong religious beliefs. 

Nirmala Dhital, president of Federation of Women with Disability Nepal (FWDN), said disabled people themselves believe in superstition. She said people with disability depends on shamanism with a belief that witchdoctor may cure their disability.

In another context, Dhital said that they faced discrimination even in religious places like temple and church. She said that they are deprived of worshipping goddess while those religious places are not disabled friendly. She also said many people thought them as beggar while they reached at those religious places.

In order to end such religious discrimination against disabled people from the family to the society the religious leaders have a great role, participants of the interaction said.

Harsha Thapa, former president of NIRN Nepal, said that they have started a campaign to end discrimination against people with disabilities in the name of religion.

Mina Poudel, a person with disability, said that the religious leaders should help to make the monasteries, churches and temples and other religious places disable-friendly and to allow disabled people to participate in all religious activities.

Bhikshu Dharma Murthi, a religious leader, said that they will take initiative to provide religious information and communication even to disabled people.

Although the main texts of Hindu religion emphasizes on the inclusion of disabled people some religious scriptures and myths (Puran) include harassment and violence against disabled people, Ram Chandra Bhandari, a Hindu religion leader said.

The participants stressed the need to reform the mindset of society towards the disabled people.

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