Wednesday, November 12, 2008

13 NOV - Media Coverage

MP from Nepal shocked over Dasarahalli incidents

Bageshree S.

Bangalore: "How can an entire community be targeted because two of its members are facing criminal charges," asks Sunil Pant incredulously, referring to the incidents in Dasarahalli in Bangalore where hijras were targeted and turned out of homes over the alleged involvement of two members of the community in a crime.

Coming from a country which is way ahead of India in recognising the rights of the sexuality minority community, the incident comes as a shock to Mr. Pant, a gay Member of Parliament representing the Communist Party of Nepal (United).

He is the founding member of Blue Diamond Society (BDS), a network of 20 groups and organisations working on HIV/AIDS, human rights and social justice for sexuality minorities.

BDS was part of the legal battle in Nepal which led to the ruling in December, 2007 ordering the Government there to defend and protect the rights of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender people. Issues related to the welfare of the community found a mention in the manifestoes of most political parties in the last elections in Nepal. Nepal has since moved on and sexuality minority groups have been given citizenship identity cards.

That Government has made a special allocation in the budget for their welfare. "Initially, we took up issues related to health and human rights. The next focus is on economic programmes and poverty alleviation that will give them a sense of dignity," Mr. Pant says.

"What needs to be recognised is that hijras and other members of the community are on the streets because they have no other place to go," he says. Things begin to change once other avenues open up, as is happening in Nepal, he adds.

His colleagues in the Nepalese Parliament, says Mr. Pant, are either supportive or want to know more about the sexuality minority community. In fact, the Nepalese are traditionally more tolerant of the community because there is an inherent cultural acceptance. "Hindus worship Ardhanarishwar and Buddhists worship Avalokiteshwar," he says.

Mr. Pant says that documentation done by BDS on violence against the community over the years shows that there was an escalation in atrocities against them between 2003 and 2006, at the height of the monarchic rule. "Naturally, the most powerless and voiceless pay the highest price during such times," he observes.

Both the law enforcing authorities and the political parties in India have something to learn from the Nepalese experience, feels Mr. Pant. "You cannot push people into darkness and expect them to be enlightened," he says.

To align with the sexuality minority makes sense in terms of real-politik too, he adds. Support from the community had a big role in the victory of CPN(U) candidates in the last elections, he says.

Hijras face further harassment

Staff Reporter
'It is wrong to target the whole community'

Bangalore: Hijras residing at Dasarahalli, who have been under pressure to vacate their houses following notices served by the police, were allegedly subjected to further abuse on Wednesday morning.

Soummya, a hirjra from the area, said the police arrived on Wednesday night and announced on loudspeakers that those who continued to stay there should leave immediately.

"Due to pressure from the authorities, many left homes leaving behind their belongings. They spent the night at the Majestic bus terminus," she said.

The situation took a turn for the worse on Wednesday morning when the police arrived on two motorcycles and a van around 9 a.m. and started beating up the hijras who remained in the area, alleged Kala, another hijra.

"Because of pressure from the police our landlords have no choice but to ask us to leave. We have not even been able to get back the deposits we had paid," said Manju, a member of the community.

Speaking about the case of an under-aged boy allegedly kidnapped and castrated by two hijras, following which the community in the area has faced harassment, Kanta said: "Individual cases must be tackled individually. It is wrong to target the whole community."

Jalaja, another hijra, echoed similar sentiments: "Why are we all being treated like criminals? Police have been warning autorickshaw drivers against taking us, telling them to refuse to take us."

Hijras from Dasarahalli were at a meeting of the sexuality minority community organised by Nepalese MP Sunil Pant.

12 NOV Press Release

Campaign for Sexworkers & Sexual Minorities Rights
No. 9 ABABIL, Patel Cheluvappa Street, J C Nagar (MR Palya), Bengaluru – 560 006.

Press Release
12th Nov 2008, Bengaluru

The Editor/Director


Dear Madam/Sir,

Sub: Illegal evictions of hijras in Dasarahalli Area by Amruthahalli Police

On November 10th, 2008 over 100 hijras residing in Dasarahalli were asked to vacate their premises by their owners. Some of them had been living there as long as two years. When the hijras inquired of the owners of the reasons for them being asked to vacate they were told that some of the owners had received a notice from the police in connection with a criminal case filed against two hijras on November 7th, 2008 on charges of abduction, grievous hurt and attempt to murder. The police notice dated November 9th, 2008 and issued by the Inspector, Amruthhalli Police Station to various home owners in Dasarahalli, intimated them that, while they were entitled to rent out their houses to hijras, it had come to the notice of the police that immoral activities were being carried out in their houses. In this connection a criminal case had been registered in Sampigehalli Police Station and an inquiry had been initiated. Those who were named in the police notice were asked to appear before the police failing which they would themselves be made responsible'.

This notice was accompanied by verbal police threats that the hijras who were tenants should be evicted forthwith. Acting on this arbitrary and irrational action by the police, many owners out of fear began to ask the hijras to evict the premises. Due to this arbitrary police action, over hundred hijras have been forced to leave their homes. On inquiry with home-owners it transpired that they had no problems and no complaints against the hijras who were their tenants. The only fear was the fear of police highhandedness and police vindictiveness should they fail to comply with the oral dictates of the police.

While we believe that the law should take its course as far as this specific allegation against some members of the community is concerned, but what is of grave concern is the targeting of the entire community of hijras in Dasarahalli and some other parts of Bangalore. This is being done in the name of enquiry regarding the alleged crime by a few individual hijras.

The hijra community in Bangalore is an extremely underprivileged community. Most often they do not have the right to live their lives in the gender that they desire as that gender has no official value. Many of them are forced to leave their homes because of violence fueled by rejection by their families. However, the hijra community today is victimized socially, legally, politically and economically. They struggle for day-to-day survival as they do for their basic human rights.

We condemn this high-handed police action and would like to clearly state that:

1) While the police are entitled to clearly prosecute offenses committed by members of the hijra community, any alleged wrong doing by some members should not be taken as a license to target the community as a whole.

2) The collective punishment of the hijra community by the police smacks of vindictiveness and
arbitrariness, and violates the Constitutional promise of equality, freedom of movement and the freedom to settle in any part of the country and the right to live with dignity guaranteed to all citizens under Art 14, Art 19 and Art 21.

3) We demand that the notice be withdrawn and the hijra community is not subjected to collective punishment.

For more information contact: Siddharth – 9845001168, Manohar-9880223460

Yours faithfully

for CSMR

(Constituents: Alternative Law Forum, Aneka, Environment Support Group, Garment and Textile Workers Union, Gud As You, Hengasara Hakkina Sangha, Jyothi Mahila Sangha, Jansthu, Karnataka Dalit Mahila Vedike, Karnataka Komusouhardha Vedike, Karnataka Sexual Minorities Forum, Karnataka Sexworkers Union, Karnataka Janapara Vedike, LesBiT, Lawyers Collective, Milana, Openspace, Pedestrian Pictures, People's Democratic Forum, People's Union for Civil Liberties, Reach Law, Sadhane, Samanatha Mahila Vedike, Sadhana Mahila Gumpu,Samara, Samvada, Sanchaya Nele, Sangama, Suraksha, Swathi Mahila Sangha, Vijaya Mahila Sangha, Vimochana, Visthar and many other individuals and organizations)

Police Notice

victims of illegal evictions

12 NOV - Media Coverage

Hijras rendered homeless
By: Savie Karnel
Date: 2008-11-12

A police diktat has left hundreds of hijiras homeless in the city.

The Amrutahalli police station issued a notice to house owners in Dasarahalli asking the landlords to meet the police inspector.

The police notice dated November 9, 2008, has been issued by the Inspector, Amrutahalli Police Station to house owners in Dasarahalli. While the owners were entitled to rent out their houses to hijras, it had come to the notice of the police that immoral activities were being carried out in their houses.


In this connection, a criminal case was registered in Sampigehalli police station and an inquiry initiated. Those who were named in the police notice were asked to appear before the police failing which they would be held responsible.

The landlords have asked the hijiras to vacate the houses. "Yesterday, my landlord suddenly asked me to leave. I was in a fix and didn't know what to do. I was on the streets with my things. I dressed up as a man and I am now staying with a friend. I had paid Rs 5,000 as advance. But the landlord has cut Rs 2,500 and given the rest. Now I have to collect money for the advance of another house," said Jacinta, who does not want to disclose her name out of fear that she may not get another house.

Sarita (name changed) could not find an auto to travel and ferry her belongings. "Auto drivers refused to take me saying that we kidnap children. I was left in the lurch. I too am looking for a house now. I don't know if I will get any. The police and the media have made generalisations and accuse us of forcibly castrating children and pushing them into prostitution. It is not true," she said.

'Don't generalise'

Madhumita, who does not want her name changed like others, said the police were victimising them.

"Let the police investigate into what actually happened in Sampigehalli. Why are they generalising? We have a right to live. You cannot just ask anyone to vacate. Where will we go? I do not have friends and am living in a lodge. Just this morning, my landlord said that I had to vacate. The police threatened the landlords verbally, telling them to make us vacate the house. Nearly 400 hijiras have become homeless," she said.

Campaign for Sex Workers and Sexual Minorities Rights, a collective body of organisations fighting for sexual minorities, has urged the police to withdraw the notice.

Landlords pressure transsexuals in Dasarahalli to vacate homes

Clyde D'Souza
Action follows castration of under-aged boy in which accused is transsexual

Police had issued notices to house owners to 'take action' against their transsexual tenants

We are not harassing transsexuals: police

BANGALORE: Several transsexuals residing in Dasarahalli area were rendered homeless on Tuesday after being pressured by their landlords to vacate their homes.

This action is attributed to the fallout of a case reported last week involving the illegal castration of an under-aged boy.

The area is home to a number of transsexuals and the Amruthahalli police had issued notices to the house owners to "take action" against their transsexual tenants.

Leaders of the transsexual community, who have been complaining of harassment, say the entire community is being targeted though they had no role in the crime.

While a couple of transsexuals vacated the houses before 5 p.m., the deadline set by the owners, several others waited nervously in front of their houses, worried about their future.

Though the police deny visiting the area, The Hindu is in possession of a copy of the notice the police issued personally to the house owners on Sunday. "We are a peaceful community and around 100 of us live here. The owners of around 40 houses have received the evacuation notice which states that action will be taken if they do not comply," Kanta, who has been rendered homeless, told The Hindu.

"We have been living here for nearly seven years with no problems. The owners support us and have no issues with us since rent is always paid on time."

People like Smitha hope some non-governmental organisation will come to their aid.

"It is impossible to vacate our homes with no notice period. We too are human and must be given our rights. We are helpless and have nowhere to go."

Subha Chako, secretary of Sangama, a sexuality rights organisation, said: "The house owners say they have a good relationship with the transsexuals who are always prompt with their rent. Then why are they being victimised? There are no criminal cases against them."

Police denial

When contacted, Basavaraja Y. Malagatti, Deputy Commissioner of Police (North-East Division) said: "We are not harassing transsexuals. We have not even entered Amruthahalli. The house owners themselves are asking them to go as an innocent boy was kidnapped and his sex was forcibly changed by the accused, who is a transsexual."

Meanwhile, the Bangalore City Police have sent a team to Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh to arrest the doctor, Naganna, who is said to have conducted the sex reassignment surgery.

(Names of all transsexuals have been changed.)