For the first time, the Republic Day parade telecast on national TV featured simultaneous sign language interpretation for the hearing impaired people.
Three channels of Doordarshan -- DD News, DD Bharti and DD Urdu -- provided sign language interpretation of the Republic Day commentary.
As per National Association of the Deaf (NAD), a representative organisation of deaf and hard of hearing people, there are more than 18 million people in India who require sign language interpretation.
Information and Broadcasting Ministry on January 23 had issued an advisory to all news channels, asking them to take feed of the Republic Day telecast with sign language interpretation from Doordarshan.
The I&B ministry had earlier asked Prasar Bharati for making provisions for having an inset box on TV screens during the telecast of the Republic Day ceremony, through which the sign language anchor could interpret the proceedings of the parade.
A number of rights groups had demanded simultaneous sign language interpretation of Republic Day telecast on all prominent channels of Doordarshan including DD National.
The Ministry, however, did not heed to their demands of introducing the facility on DD National.
Hundreds of activists and differently-abled people had held a protest outside Shastri Bhavan on Thursday to press for their demand.
The activists had taken up the issue earlier with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi also.
"India has ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPD) and as such is obligated to make all information accessible to everyone irrespective of disability.
To keep millions of viewers bereft of this is blatant discrimination," said Javed Abidi, convener, Disabled Rights Group.