Skip to main content

Govt of India must stop criminalization of traditional Hijra livelihoods: NAPM

Counterview Desk
India's top civil society network, National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), in a statement signed by senior social activists* led by Medha Patkar, have demanded thst Parliament must "urgently review" two legislations on transgender person's rights and anti-trafficking.
Pointing out that NAPM stands in solidarity with oppressed groups by observing December 28 as the National Day of Rage against "regressive" provisions of both the Bills, it said, the Government of India must "ensure all constitutional safeguards, including right to life, liberty, equality, self-determination, non-discrimination and reservations".

Text of the statement:

A year after their national protest, hundreds of persons from the transgender community are once again stormed the streets of Delhi today. They are resisting the draconian provisions of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2018 that has been recently passed by the Lok Sabha and is pending consideration of the Rajya Sabha.
In the past ten days since the Transgender Bill was passed, the community has vigorously expressed its outrage across the country, in state after state and the media as well as civil society had to take note of and widely report the gross violations and inadequacies in the Bill.
Except for adopting a more reasonable definition of transgender persons, the present ('amended') Bill has retained most of the problematic aspects of the previous regressive versions.
This includes District Screening Committee for approval of gender; lesser punishments for perpetrators of offences on trans persons vis-a-vis cisgender persons; criminalization of traditional Hijra livelihoods; conflating intersex and gender non-conforming persons with transpersons; and constituting National Council (instead of a Commission at Central and State level) without adequate representation of the gender-diverse community, autonomy and powers to enforce its directives.
The Bill now pending before the Rajya Sabha has no provisions for reservations for transpersons in education and employment, secure access to health and medicare and has very weak framework to address the myriad forms of everyday discrimination that the community faces.
NAPM re-affirms its earnest solidarity with the demands and concerns raised by the transgender, gender queer and intersex community that the present version of the Bill completely ignores the progressive provisions of the Tiruchi Siva’s Private Member Bill (passed by Rajya Sabha in 2015 and pending before Lok Sabha), or the Judgement of the Apex Court in NALSA versus Union of India (2014) or even the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee.
Along with the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 (passed by Lok Sabha a few months ago), this regressive legislation is likely to jeopardize hijra and other transgender, gender non conforming communities and further discrimination, harassment, and institutional violence.
The Trafficking Bill, passed without consulting a broad-based constituency including working class sex workers and their organizations provide harsh punishments of 10 years for begging. Several provisions of the Bill go against fundamental principles of criminal justice and the Indian Constitution. The Bill vests excessive powers in the police and creates several layers of bureaucratic institutions with no accountability.
It is imperative that marginalised communities of sex workers, bonded labourers, contract workers, domestic workers, construction workers, transgender persons, inter-state, intra-state and international migrant workers are adequately consulted and heard before the Bill is considered by the Rajya Sabha.
The Bill uses the questionable approach of 'rescue' and institutionalized 'rehabilitation' of adult persons who are not necessarily 'trafficked' and have a constitutional right to engage in different forms of work.
The slew of recent instances of sexual abuse of women and girls in various state and NGO run ‘protection’ homes should compel the Government to review its policy of institutionalized rehabilitation by engaging widely with various sections of civil society.
It is both unfortunate and unacceptable that the Parliament is reinforcing patriarchal norms through these Bills and infact missing a radical opportunity to correct the historical injustice perpetuated on the trans community, as pointed out by the Apex Court, both in the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) judgement and the much celebrated Navtej Singh Johar judgement while reading down of Sec 377 IPC.
We call upon the Rajya Sabha not to pass the Transgender Bill in haste and instead refer it to a Select Committee wherein all the recommendations of the Public Service Commission (PSC), NALSA Judgement and Tiruchi Siva Bill are considered in due earnest.
We also call upon the Rajya Sabha to refer the Anti-Trafficking Bill to a Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha and consult all the stake holders who stand to be adversely affected by the contentious provisions of the Bill.
We call upon the Government of India to ensure all constitutional rights and safeguards of transpersons, sex workers and other marginalized sections, including right to life, liberty, equality, self-determination, non-discrimination and reservations.
---
*Click HERE for the list of signatories

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Liberating Bengal Hindus? Worst flames of communal division, lessons from the past

By Shamsul Islam*  The whole thrust of the RSS-BJP election campaign for 2021 state assembly elections in West Bengal has been to save Bengal from the rule of Mamata Bannerjee who is allegedly not a ‘Hindu’. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a self-proclaimed Hindu nationalist, as usual set the polarizing agenda. While addressing the first election rally, he called upon the electorate to overthrow the ‘nirmam’ (cruel) rule of Mamata by showing a ‘Ram Card’. He did not name Hindus directly but there was no confusion about the religious identity of the electorate Indian PM was addressing to.

Pradeep Bhattacharya, who spent his life for the cause of working masses, rational thinking

By YS Gill*  At 11:30 pm on May 3, 2021, I lost my best friend and comrade Pradeep Bhattacharya. He spent his life dedicated to the cause of the working masses and rational thinking. A person of thorough scientific outlook and a well-read student of Marxian thought, he was a walking encyclopedia and could speak on a wide variety of topics from art and culture to science, philosophy, history and politics.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Rs 5 crore 'demand' for India Today anchor: What about 52 lesser souls who died in April?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  A well known Hindutva protagonist masquerading as journalist passed away recently resulting in messages of condolences and tribute right from the Prime Minister and the Home Minister to progressive liberals expressing grief of his untimely death. It is said that he passed away due to cardiac arrest, though the fact is, he was also Covid infected. The Prime Minister and the Home Minister termed him a ‘brave’ journalist, insisting, his passing away has left a big ‘vacuum’.

Modi's Hindutva 'ensuring' empowerment of rich, disenfranchisement of poor

Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The Hindutva socio-psychopaths are neither nationalists nor patriotic people. These medieval reactionary forces don’t understand the idea of citizenship, justice, liberty, equality and humanism. Indian democracy is merely an electoral transaction for the Hindutva forces. Hindutva forces neither follow science nor understand the sufferings of fellow human beings. These core qualities are common among the Hindutva forces in India.

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

Despite crisis, Modi's Hindutva strategy 'increased' mass base in society and polity

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Narendra Modi and his RSS brethren can qualify as masters of fake claims. There is a long lists of lies spread by RSS, BJP and their IT cell workers. It is not a personality disorder or lying with fear. They are trained to defend Modi and his government’s decisions in whatever possible way. They defended demonetisation by arguing that it is “an important step” in his fight against black money and corruption.

India's Covid-19 'nightmare': A product of majoritarian Hindutva ideological praxis?

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Indians struggle to find place and time to bury their dead due to the devastating effects of the second wave of Covid-19 in India. The crematoriums in the capital cities are overflowing with dead bodies. People are dying without oxygen and basic medical support. The cities like Delhi and Mumbai are struggling to cope with the rising number of infections and COVID-19 led deaths. The deaths and destitutions are products of a defunct BJP government led by Narendra Modi.

Indian media persons collapsing to Covid disease as fast as 3 per day, third highest

Yogesh Sharma, Shailesh Rawal  By Our Representative  The Switzerland based media rights and safety body, Press Emblem Campaign ( PEC ) has said that it is “alarming for Indian journalists”, who have lost at least 107 colleagues to Covid-19”, noting, Indian “journo-colleagues” have been collapsing to the Covid-19 complications now as fast as three scribes per day. In a statement, PEC said, “India with 107 media corona-casualties has already placed itself on the third position just below Brazil (181 dead) and Peru (140) in the list of Covid-19 victims among journalist.”