Actor Akshay Kumar, brand ambassador for Special Olympics, rues use of retarded

NEW DELHI: Superstar Akshay Kumar, the brand ambassador for the Special Olympics Bharat, has initiated a massive nationwide signature campaign to have the r-word (retard) or its equivalent in any Indian language removed while addressing intellectually disabled persons. The campaign has already crossed 9 million signatures.

The highest number of signatures from one school is 98,000 with Bihar leading the signature campaign. Not only this, but Akshay will also be in Bangalore for a grand event that will be the culmination of the Signature Campaign. The event titled ‘Be a Fan of Dignity‘ will also see him walking the ramp for Bangalore designer Ramesh Dembla at the glamorous star studded grand finale.

Akshay will award everyone who achieved new records for the campaign and also lead the pledge ceremony at the event where everyone present will be taking an oath to remove the r-word from their vocabulary and be more sensitive to people with any intellectual disability. After the show the campaign results will be taken to not just the Social Justice Department in Delhi but Parliament to change the National Policy and ban the usage of Retard in all languages across India. This has already been accomplished by the Special Olympics Bharat, Area Director. in Uttar Pradesh.

Talking about his support for the campaign, Padmashree awardee Akshay Kumar said, "Unfortunately, intellectual disabilities are a reality for a large number of people in the world. Stop the derogatory usage of the word RETARD. It is not about being politically correct. It is about being sensitive."

Sugandha Sukrutaraj (Ashoka Fellow), who is the Director of BE A FAN OF DIGNITY and Trustee Special Olympics Bharat said "We have participation and response from over 200 thousand schools from every state and union territory in India in the Signature Campaign culminating at BE A FAN OF DIGNITY 2010. The Youth in these schools have sensitized over ten million people by making them sign their support to the intellectually challenged community. Akshay, however, has taken this effort to another level all together by reaching out to his Fans and the Film Fraternity. This community is not asking for our pity or charity, they need our respect and involvement."

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