Thursday, May 23, 2024

CM Pinarayi Vijayan has Been Lying to National Media: Kerala is Hunting Down Transgender People

Kunjila Mascillamani

Last year, in November, the mallu (condescending way of saying Malayalee) public went crazy on social media sharing news of a ‘transgender policy.’ Apparently mallu land (condescending way of saying Kerala) is the first state to implement one such. During the much celebrated event, M K Muneer, state Minister for Social Justice said “We assure the transgender in the state that your freedom and movement will be taken care of by the Kerala Government.” The news made it to national media and once again, mallu land was praised for being the best and one or two mentions of the age old literacy rate were thrown in the air.

Guess what?

The Kerala government has been lying through its teeth. For all the literacy that it claims to have earned, Kerala seems to be shoving away social justice like its dry foliage in its yard. Mallu land hunts down its women. Couple that mallumaledom with the ruling CPI(M) and it does exemplary hunting of Dalit women. Add the state police to that – you have the army that the transgender people have been battling in mallu land.

In the most recent incident of cruelty by the state towards transgender people, 4 transgender people were arrested in Kochi, Kerala, for allegedly being part of a sex racket. Kochi, by the way, is the most happening place in Kerala and the first one to have officially offered employment to transgender people – again something that ended up being in the news.

Of course, it is not for anyone to say if they were involved in a sex racket or if there was one at all. Consider the case of Andriya. 6 transgender people including them were arrested on charges of robbery in July, last year. The transgender people from the time of the incident have been saying that it was Andriya who was being robbed by a stranger. The others had come to her aid to nab the thief but the police ended up arresting them. Why is it that in cases involving transgender people, the police are so confused that they cannot even identify the victim? With such incidents in the past what is the credibility of the news that transgender people were involved in a sex scandal along with ten others and that all were arrested from a lodge.

This brings us to the lodges. Do you know why the progressive Kerala has got lodges like these where transgender people live, most of the time hiding from the police? With all the publicity mongering that Pinarayi Vijayan led Kerala government does, transgender people from even outside Kerala travel here looking for jobs. It is then that they realize that the newspapers and politicians lie, that the Kerala society with their Brahmanical thinking cannot rent houses to them. With the wages that they earn, the only other option is to live in lodges that charge around Rs. 300 a day. But when they approach such lodges, imagine finding out that there are instructions from the police that transgender people should not be provided accommodation. That is the truth. Therefore lodge owners let them in on various conditions, such as they don’t go out often and that they eat in their rooms etc. With incidents like the recent sex racket ‘busting,’ one really wonders how much more invisible the state expects the community to be.

Listen to what transgender activist and makeup artist Renju Renjimar had to tell The News Minute. “Kerala is not at all transgender friendly, I will not agree if someone says that. We have been repeatedly meeting CM Pinarayi Vijayan and appealing to him to stop harassing our community members. We want to know for what reason we are being targeted on a daily basis.”

Maybe, clues to this riddle lies in the many occurrences of violence against the community and the abusers’ language in each of them.

Just a few days before the police did all the busting of sex rackets and arresting of transgender people, on December 29, in Kozhikode, another district in Kerala, transgender people were beaten up by the police. Reason? The police didn’t think they deserved to live. It was evident from what they were saying while beating up the two transgender people. They were yelling that they were better off dead. In India, rape victims receive sympathy once they are dead. It looks as if transgender people are not even granted that. The police officers who had attacked the two had also yelled that they wouldn’t be allowed to live in peace.

However, in Kozhikode, something that the police did not anticipate happened. The transgender people retaliated. The issue was taken up and the CM had to order a probe into the case. An official complaint was filed with the police. Not used to resistance from those they think are better off dead, the police did what they do best. A case of immoral trafficking. It was rather easy for them because the transgender people often have to do sex work to make both ends meet. What does this tell us?

The system will not let the community live even if they are earning a living by not doing sex work. They will be beaten up or arrested after being accused of doing sex work. If and when they earn by doing sex work, the police or the morality of the brahminical Kerala cannot let that be. It couldn’t be more clear. Kerala does not want to see transgender people.

So the next time you see Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurate yet another programme for the national media claiming another transgender friendly move, please dare to stop. Dare to not publish. Nothing of the sort is happening over here. The CM and the state are drenched in the blood of transgender people. It is all a big lie.


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