"if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen
the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu.

Award winning Punjabi boy with a hearing disability raises voice for Saibaba Featured

 

Yashveer Goyal has established himself as a role model for the Indian youth in sports and Information Technology, in spite of being born with a hearing disability. Now, he has come to the support of jailed Delhi University Professor GN Saibaba.

Twenty-year-old Goyal of Bathinda, Punjab was born in 1999 into a modest family, to a journalist father, Chander Parkash. 

Parskash first noticed the hearing disability when his child remained unresponsive to the loud sounds of firecrackers in the neighbourhood on the night of Deewali - the Indian festival of lights.

Goyal's undeterred parents brought him up with lot of care despite many challenges. Young Goyal had to face discrimination in school in a conservative society, where ostracizing of children with disabilities is very common. However, his parents made sure that he concentrated on education and extracurricular activities that helped him to master badminton and chess, besides Information Technology. 

After winning many championships and competitions in these fields, both at the provincial and higher level, Goyal was given a national award for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities in 2019, under the Role Model Hearing Impairments (Male) category.

Goyal has now started a campaign to raise awareness about COVID 19, and he has asked the Prime Minister of India to make arrangements for the release of wheelchair bound Saiibaba, who is being incarcerated under inhuman conditions.

Saibaba is ninety percent disabled below the waist and suffers with more than a dozen ailments. He was convicted for life after being branded as a Maoist sympathizer for defending the rights of Adivasis, or the indigenous peoples of India fighting against forcible eviction from their traditional lands in the name of development by the mining companies and the government.

Since the outbreak of COVID 19, the vulnerability of inmates like Saibaba, locked up in overcrowded Indian jails, has grown.  A petition has already been launched for the release of all political prisoners on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. Even the UN has asked for his immediate release.    

Goyal wrote on his Facebook page, “As I am a special child with absolute hearing impairment so I know the life of specially disabled persons. I have come to know about the plight of Saibaba, facing hellish conditions in jail and also under danger due to Covid-19”.

Warning the Prime Minister that Saibaba could come “face to face with death”, he has urged for his release before it is too late. 

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