This past Sunday, Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, Indian international para-table tennis players Pradeep Raj and Suvarna Raj tried to gain entry to Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium to watch the Pro Wrestling League for which they had VIP tickets but were denied entry. The pair of wheelchair were denied use of VIP parking and told the stadium was full, they presented a security hazard and the facility was unable to accommodate them.
The incident occurred hours after Indian’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on the Indian radio programme, Mann Ki Baat, in which he praised the qualities of Indian people with physical disabilities.
34-year-old Suvarna was quoted by Times Now as saying, “The traffic police didn’t allow us to park in the area, despite our car having a disability sticker. […] We had to park at a distance and walk to the entry gates, where we were again denied entry. […] They told me to go back as there were no arrangements, neither ramps nor seats for disabled people.”
Pradeep was quoted in the same article as saying, “Modiji addresses the disabled as ‘Divyang’ in his national broadcast, but nobody is doing anything actually to address the harassment we face regularly.”
Organizers justified the response by saying the large turnout to the Pro Wrestling League resulted in a situation where the police and security were unable to handle the crowds. They claim they were prepared to accommodate people with disabilities, except for the turnout issue hindering their ability to do so as it required additional crowd control measures by the police.