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Telangana needs to bring in laws to protect transgender prisoners: Activists

The lack of policies runs nation-wide with exception of Kerala where separate prison blocks are available in some prisons of that State.

Published: 17th January 2019 03:50 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th January 2019 03:50 AM   |  A+A-

In a first at aiming to secure the rights of transgenders in Pakistan two bills were introduced in the National Assembly.

Image for representational purpose only

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Transgender activists in the city are intensifying their demand to have policies on separate prison complex or blocks for transgender prisoners, besides laying down formal SOP’s that go in tune with the NALSA (National Legal Services Authority) judgement that ensure their humane treatment. 

“At present when someone is forced into a prison with cisgender prisoners, that can lead to bodily harm. We as activists have to go there and demand them to undertake a test and assign them to a jail where they would be safe. It is a tedious process,” said Chandramukhi Muvvala, a transgender rights activist. It must be noted transgenders have no rape laws protecting them under the IPC.

Even after the Kushaiguda case emerged in the media, the activists had to rush to the police to ensure the rights of the transpersons are not harmed as there are no policies in place for the police and prisons department to follow. 

“Transgender persons can’t be put with cisgender persons in prison as harm and discrimination can happen both ways,” added Rachana Mudraboyina, a transgender rights activist.

However, the lack of policies runs nation-wide with exception of Kerala where separate prison blocks are available in some prisons of that State. In Karnataka, the discussions are also going on, on as to how to make prison terms more humane and tailor-made for the third gender.

Prisons officials of Telangana, however, have adopted some basic protocol to uphold their transgender inmates' dignity and claim to ensure they are taking some steps to protect these prisoners from getting harmed and also ensuring other prisoners are not harmed. 

“We don’t have separate jails but provide them with separate barracks at present. Most transgender prisoners we get are referred to the female jail,” noted VK Singh, Director General of Prisons and Correctional Services.

Activists, on the whole, say it is high time the State owns up and works towards setting up of a transgender welfare board. “We have no State policies for us. No reservations policies empower us and no laws safeguard our rights, which is why a transgender welfare board is very crucial. We are hoping that these shortcomings are brought to the notice of the government with our PIL,” added Rachana M.



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