Disabled Indians use apps, chat groups to find love, navigate life

A WhatsApp message group for women with prosthetic legs helps them navigate everyday challenges, be it relationships or shoes. (Reuters)
Updated 03 November 2017
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Disabled Indians use apps, chat groups to find love, navigate life

MUMBAI: Disabled Indians are finding love and tips for everyday life on mobile apps and chat groups, as technology helps level the field for a community that is often stigmatized and ignored.
A mobile matchmaking app for the disabled has facilitated at least half a dozen marriages since its launch, while a WhatsApp message group for women with prosthetic legs helps them navigate everyday challenges, be it relationships or shoes.
“At least two thirds of disabled people are single — and not from choice,” said Kalyani Khona, 24, founder of matchmaking app Inclov, short for ‘inclusive love’.
“Dating and matchmaking sites are not really inclusive, and there is such a stigma around disabled people that they are resigned to being alone,” she said.
India is home to nearly 27 million disabled people.
They are largely an invisible minority, with a lack of access to public transport and to spaces such as restaurants and movie theaters.
Women are particularly at a disadvantage, often considered a burden by their families because they cannot marry easily.
Inclov, developed with money raised from crowdfunding, has about 19,000 registered users in India; men make up 80 percent.
“We are aware that not everyone with a disability has access to a smartphone,” Khona told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“Access for women is particularly limited, and they are also more inhibited,” she said.
About 15 women, all with prosthetic legs, get together on a private shared space on WhatsApp to share their common experiences — talking pregnancy, menstruation, and also what footwear is practical, but also cute.
Set up by three women who shared the same prosthetist in Mumbai, the women are all in their 20s and 30s; most are single.
It is not a support group, said Antara Telang, who lost a leg when a branch fell on her during monsoon rains.
“All of us in the chat group know the challenges that women with leg amputations face, and we support each other through everything,” said Telang, 25.
“It’s not just about our disabilities; it’s about interacting with people who understand what you’re going through. Posting on Reddit doesn’t provide the same kind of support that five people saying ‘OMG yes, me too!’ does.”


Twitter suspends two accounts linked to 12 Russians indicted by Mueller

The accounts have been suspended for being connected to a network of accounts previously suspended for operating in violation of our rules. (REUTERS)
Updated 15 July 2018
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Twitter suspends two accounts linked to 12 Russians indicted by Mueller

  • The indictment alleges that from around June 2016 the conspirators released tens of thousands of stolen emails and documents “using fictitious online personas, including ‘DCLeaks’ and ‘Guccifer 2.0.’.”
  • Friday’s indictment was the first by Mueller that directly charges the Russian government with meddling in the election

WASHINGTON: Social networking site Twitter Inc. on Saturday suspended two accounts linked to 12 Russian spies indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for interfering in the 2016 US presidential election.
On Friday, a federal grand jury charged 12 Russian intelligence officers with hacking Democratic computer networks in 2016 in the most detailed US accusation yet that Moscow meddled in the election to help Republican Donald Trump.
Twitter said on Saturday it had suspended the accounts @DCLeaks_ and @Guccifer_2 that were named in the indictment, which alleges a wide-ranging conspiracy involving sophisticated hacking and staged release of documents.
The indictment alleges that from around June 2016 the conspirators released tens of thousands of stolen emails and documents “using fictitious online personas, including ‘DCLeaks’ and ‘Guccifer 2.0.’.”
In a statement on Saturday, a Twitter spokesman said: “The accounts have been suspended for being connected to a network of accounts previously suspended for operating in violation of our rules.”
Friday’s indictment was the first by Mueller that directly charges the Russian government with meddling in the election. The Kremlin denies it interfered.
Speaking at a cybersecurity conference in Philadelphia on Saturday, US Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said the indictments proved that the United States “will not tolerate interference with our democratic processes and that there will be consequences for foreign meddling.”