Transgender-beggar fight highlights nuisance at signals

(Clockwise from top left) A transgender beats a beggar when a motorist gives him money; he tries to escape amid moving traffic on Cubbon Road; the transgender chases the beggar, who squats on the road, blocking traffic; the beggar collapses on the road after another beating from the transgender. DH Photos/Aishwarya Rakesh

A claim over 'begging' territory between transgenders and a specially abled destitute resulted in commotion, with one transgender attacking the destitute brutally on the busy Cubbon Road recently. The high drama, spanning more than 30 minutes, led to a traffic jam on the busy stretch.

To the surprise of many motorists, a 65-year-old specially abled man was mercilessly thrashed by a transgender with a tree branch for hampering their 'business'. While constables were busy manning the traffic at the signal near BRV junction, the transgender flashed at a cab driver, leaving everyone embarrassed. By the time a Hoysala arrived at the signal, the transgender fled from the scene.

A commuter on the stretch said this was a regular affair at the signals on Cubbon Road. "They (transgenders) look at the differently abled as their competitors. Empathetic people are more likely to give money to the handicapped compared to the transgenders. This would obviously irritate them," he said.

A majority of the 20,000 odd transgenders in the state (2011 census) face difficulties in finding employment and accommodation. Due to the stigma attached, they are forced into beggary and prostitution, and they usually choose traffic signals as their "workplaces" where they bless commuters in exchange for money. Sometimes, they intimidate and threaten gullible commuters and misbehave with them, leaving them red-faced.

Sana Shree, programme manager of Ondede, an NGO that advocates the rights of sexual minorities, said there is a lack of awareness and sensitisation about their community in society. "Such incidents occur due to helplessness, insecurity and vulnerability of members of our community. Policies that guarantee the protection of our dignity and respect must be implemented," she said.

Additional commissioner of police (East) Seemanth Kumar Singh said: "They are usually sent to a remand home, but they are released in a day. It requires all the departments like labour and the Palike to work together. We have instructed the Hoysala police to pick up such miscreants."

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