Army distributes hearing aids to residents of 'deaf and dumb' village in JK's Doda

Bhaderwah (J-K), Jan 18 (PTI) Reaching out to a tribal village in Jammu and Kashmir's Doda district with many residents suffering from mysterious illness of being born deaf and dumb, the Army on Tuesday distributed specialised hearing aids among the differently-abled children besides starting tutorials to teach them to sign language.

The hilltop tribal village, Dadhkai-A, 105 kilometres from Bhaderwah town, is home to 105 families, of whom 55 are affected with a mysterious disorder. Their 78 members, including 41 women and 30 children aged between 3-15 years, are born deaf and dumb.

Extending the community welfare development project to the village, an Army's Rashtriya Rifles unit based at Bhaderwah started the initiative to provide specialised hearing aids to the affected population along with starting tutorials to teach them to sign language to ensure they live an honourable life .

The programme was jointly inaugurated by Senior Superintendent of Police, Doda, Abdul Qayoom and Commanding Officer of four Rashtriya Rifles. Block Development Council (BDC) chairman Mohd Hanief Deedar was also present on the occasion.

“We are initially providing hearing aids to 10 children and the rest of the persons will be covered in the coming weeks. The hearing equipment costing Rs 17,000 each have been specially designed for the deaf and dumb with a lifetime warranty,” an army officer said.

He said the hearing aid would help the specially-abled generation to understand the sign language for which experts will provide door to door tuition to affected children.

Appreciating the unique approach of the Army, SSP Qyoom said the gesture would not only provide self-confidence to the affected villagers but will also help them to come out of the desperate situation.

“The army gesture will also help outside world to know about this mysterious disorder which is limited to this particular village of Gujjars only,” he said, adding as long as he is the SSP Doda, he would try his best to focus on this village with different welfare schemes of police and will try to mitigate the miseries they are facing since decades.

BDC chairman Deedar appealed to the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs to open a permanent special school for the deaf and dumb villagers.

Senior civil, police and army officers assured the villagers that they will take up the matter with the concerned ministry with a request to open the school for differently-abled tribal children.