In a loss to India’s disability movement and pro-inclusion activists, Prasanna Kumar Pincha, a leading and much respected disability advocate, passed away at a hospital in New Delhi on Sunday at the age of 68.
Mr. Pincha, was the first blind person to become Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, a key position in the Indian Government system for safeguarding the rights of people with disabilities and implementation of Persons with Disabilities Act.
He was also the Special Rapporteur with the National Human Rights Commission and was known for his gentle and respectful demeanour and a sharp focus on details and statutory aspects related to disability laws and legislations.
He also worked on wider poverty issues and was an advocate of looking for disability from a multi-dimensional lens. He was the Regional – Senior Manager of ActionAid (an international NGO) of the North-East of India and National Theme Leader for ActionAid’s work on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
He also headed the National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation, and multiple disabilities as its Chairperson.
Mr. Pincha also advocated a series of changes in the Constitution to be accommodative to the rights of persons with disabilities. He wanted the word “handicap” supplanted with “persons with disabilities”, include “disability” as a ground to prohibit discrimination, and provisions for job reservations in public institutions, among others.