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Atul Patankar

As reported by Kranti Vibhute at www.mid-day.com on 11 May 2005

 

Why don't most eunuchs have ration cards or voting rights? Four city law students want answers to some simple questions

 

Nirav Marjadi (19), Kushal Mehta (19), Dharampal Dave (18) and Jay Vakil (19) are law students who take the law very seriously. Instead of giving lip service to laws about equality, the four second-year students of SVKM Law College have decided to fight for the basic rights of eunuchs in India.

 

Inspired by Tamil Nadu's decision to give ration cards to eunuchs with a third sex option, Marjadi filed a Right to Information (RTI) application before the Public Information Officer and ministry of social justice and empowerment, Maharashtra, on May 6 to know the laws, education schemes, employment schemes and the rules for provision of ration cards for eunuchs in this state.

 

"When Tamil Nadu can give ration card to eunuchs, then why is our state lagging behind in helping them," questioned Marjadi.

 

Next step

As their second step, Dave will file an RTI application before the election commission today to know about the voting rights for eunuchs. "Justice must be seen to be done. Why should eunuchs be reduced to begging and prostitution just because the government is not providing them with basic amenities like a ration card?"

 

Based on the answers, the group will file a petition in the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission to ensure that eunuchs get their rights.

 

The students have taken up this endeavour under the guidance of their professors and retired high court judges. Their move has been welcomed not only by eunuchs, but also the other marginalised communities.

 

Eunuch Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, the founder of the NGO Astitva, said, "My support is with these students.

 

Everyone wants his or her own identity." Tripathi holds the credit of being the only eunuch in the UN's Civil Society Task Force on HIV/AIDS.

 

Ashok Row Kavi, gay rights activist and chairperson of the Humsafar Trust, said, "We, at Humsafar, strongly feel there should be a welfare body that can keep their data. They also need to be provided with ration cards, special wards in hospitals, etc."

 

Transsexual actor Bobby Darling too welcomed the move, saying, "Eunuchs need to get their basic amenities. Hats off to these students who are fighting for their rights."

 

1.2 million

The estimated number of eunuchs in India

 

90%

The estimated percentage of eunuchs who live in poverty

 

Source: Sex appeal

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colnrkurup

The Eunuchs, if at all having any problem is their own creation. What stop them from declaring themselves as "Male" or "Female" as per their own choice ? The real eunuchs are far less. Majority of them are borderline cases declaring themselves as enuchs for their own ulterior motives. My advice to those Law sudents are to go little more deep into the issue.

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  • 4 months later...
Atul Patankar

As reported at dnaindia.com on September 13, 2009

 

An eunuch has moved the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) seeking the right to vote for his community and transgenders in the forthcoming state Assembly polls.

 

In the four-page complaint, Laxmi Narayan Tripathi termed the denial of Right to vote as gross violation of Human Rights in the state.

 

Supported by a group of four law students, Tripathi demanded that the state government should extend the fundamental right of voting to eunuchs and transgenders.

 

"There is a gross violation of the human rights of eunuchs in Maharashtra. We are not provided with ration cards and not permitted to vote," the complaint said.

 

The SHRC has issued notices to the chief secretary of the state government with a direction to ensure that departments concerned with ration cards and voter ID cards file their reply to the complaint by November 4.

 

The commission has also directed the state government to suggest in their reply affidavit steps being taken or to be taken with this regard.

 

"Tamil Nadu government has already issued ration cards to the eunuchs of that state. It is the only state to have recognised eunuchs as a different sex," said the complaint.

 

Tripathi further said that eunuchs in Maharashtra are deprived of life, liberty and dignity.

 

"If we (eunuchs) are not given a chance to lead a normal life then we are left with the ultimate choice of begging or prostitution to earn money," the complaint states.

 

The commission had directed the state government to file its reply to the complaint by August 24 but the government failed to do so following which they have been given time till November 4.

 

The students -- Niraj Marjadi, Dharampal Dave, Jay Vakil and Kushal Mehta -- had earlier this year, filed an RTI application before the Maharashtra State Election Commission seeking to know the rights accorded to eunuchs in the state.

 

"However, the election commission returned the RTI application back saying that they cannot reply to such applications," Dave said.

Source: Eunuch seeks right to vote in Maharashtra Assembly polls - dnaindia.com

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