He had secured admission for six-year integrated B. Tech course for speech and hearing impaired
Life has not been an easy journey for 18-year-old P. Ayyappan of Tirunelveli. Born with a hearing impairment, he managed to overcome it to a significant extent through speech therapy.
His childhood dream was to become an engineer. When the Kalasalingam University near Srivilliputtur in Virudhunagar district introduced a pioneering six-year integrated B. Tech course for the speech and hearing impaired in 2007, it brightened his hope of realising his dream. He managed to get admission to the B. Tech course on July 4 and spent a day with his classmates.
The next afternoon, however, the teenager was asked to remain in his hostel room. The university authorities called his parents to say that the parents of other students had objected to their children studying with Ayyappan, because he had vitiligo or patches of white skin on his body.
His mother P. Hemavathi tried in vain to convince the authorities that it was not a contagious disease.
She produced a medical certificate from an Assistant Professor in the Department of Dermatology, Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital, that said “vitiligo is non-infectious and will not spread by contact.”
“This is nothing but sheer discrimination by the university authorities on the basis of leucoderma, which is only de-pigmentation of skin due to auto-immune disorder,” secretary of Chennai-based Leucoderma Awareness Movement, K. Umapathy, said.
He cited a State government order of December 27, 2010, stating that vitiligo, also called leucoderma, was neither an infectious nor a hereditary disease.
The university’s action was a rights violation and unconstitutional, he said.
Stating that there were misconceptions about vitiligo, Mr. Umapathy said the movement would approach the Departments of Health, School Education and Higher Education, seeking suitable orders that no child should be discriminated by schools and colleges on the basis of vitiligo.
“We want the government to stop denial of admission to such students,” he add
This is just a few of the many cases happening around the world. The only way we can fight the discrimination of people living with vitiligo is by making vitiligo known.