Traffic police announce drive to evict transgenders

A tweet by a senior police officer announcing a “drive” to evict transgenders from traffic junctions after February 5 has stirred up a storm.

Responding to a discussion Twitter about citizens being troubled by transgenders begging at traffic signals, M.A. Saleem, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic), said, “We will conduct a drive to remove mangalamukhis from traffic junctions after 5th Feb.”

Coincidentally, the proposed drive comes close on the heels of the State government deciding to delete the word ‘eunuchs’ from Section 36(A) of the Karnataka Police Act.

The discussion started with a citizen complaining about being “bothered” by transgenders at traffic signals, that too in the presence of traffic police. While there were concerns raised about the rehabilitation of people from the transgender community, people also pitched in with complaints of a “begging mafia” on the rise and men dressing up as transgenders to beg.

The transgender community is not taking kindly to the traffic police’s plan, threatening to stage a protest outside the Police Commissioner’s office if the drive does take place. According to an estimate, of the approximately 3,000 transgenders in Bengaluru, nearly 1,000 of them eke out a living by begging on the streets.

Transgender activist Akkai Padmashali said the “disappointing order” was nothing but “discrimination against transgenders”.

“No one has taken steps to implement the transgender welfare policy. People from the community are begging for basic needs such as food and clothing,” she said.

About complaints of men pretending to be transgenders, she said the whole community should not be targeted for it.

Not the first time

The traffic police’s proposed drive against transgenders is not the first in the city. In 2014, when M.N. Reddi was the City Police Commissioner, the police had carried out a major drive against transgenders begging in the city. Over 200 members from the community were rounded up and sent to the Beggars’ Colony, drawing criticism from various quarters.

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Printable version | Apr 21, 2021 6:53:53 PM |

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