Stuck at a traffic signal near Patny circle on a busy Monday morning, 26 year-old Vishal Pratap Singh had little idea that the stop would turn into a harrowing experience. Three eunuchs surrounded him as one of them snatched Rs 300 and made away with it. Many have a similar story to narrate of their experiences with eunuchs in the city who make a living out of extortion and prostitution due to the lack of gainful employment and skills.
On Saturday a gang of eunuchs aboard the Amravathi Express train robbed male passengers, leaving them penniless and scared. Often the custodians of law as well as passers-by refrain from intervening due to the ‘embarassment’ it entails. “It all ended in just two minutes. Even before I could react one of the gang-members grabbed my hand and another took out the money. It happened in the morning at about 11:30 am, when there is lot of traffic. I could not do anything,” recounts Vishal.
It isn’t all about men as girls and women are also often targets of eunuchs at busy junctions and colleges. “Usually some of them wait near Lifestyle and St. Francis College for Women at Begumpet.
They mainly go after college girls who take the bus, or those who draw cash from any of the ATM machines nearby,” said Shoma Ghoshal, a resident of Tarnaka and an alumni of the college. She added that the watchmen at the ATM turn a blind eye when extortion happens right outside the block housing the machines.
Begumpet, Patny circle and Paradise junction were identified as the three key areas where eunuchs in groups harass people waiting at the traffic signal. “Sometimes even if you try to evade them, they follow you to the auto you board,” remarked Neha Naomi, an employee at an NGO.
Taking cognizance of the harassment faced by public, Y Narsimha Reddy, inspector at Begumpet Police Station said, “We have received multiple complaints from the general public. Hence, we have decided to start a special drive to curb this problem from next week onwards.”
The usual course of action is to register a case against a specific complain or driving away the groups which control specific junctions and areas.
Anurag Sharma, commissioner of police says that such incidents cannot be counted as extortion as the eunuchs don’t hold people with any criminal intention.