EC to transgenders: We want you to vote in the assembly polls

At special registration camps,439 transgenders register themselves in the electoral list

Written by Jiji Janardhan | New Delhi | Published: August 29, 2013 2:35 am

The Delhi Election Commission is organising special registration camps to enlist voters from marginalised groups such as the transgender community and homeless people for the coming Assembly elections.

So far,439 transgenders have registered themselves in the electoral list. They number more than 8,500 in the city.

“Getting transgenders enrolled in the voters’ list is part of our efforts to bring people from the marginalised sections of society into the mainstream. We are also focusing on registering sex workers and homeless people,” Vijay Dev,Chief Electoral Officer of Delhi,told Newsline.

“If the marginalised sections get voting rights,politicians start caring for them as potential voters. We want the maximum number of such people in the voting age to be enrolled in the electoral list so that they can vote in the coming elections,” Dev added.

But the transgender community,first recognised by the Election Commission (EC) under the ‘Other’ category in 2010,feels sensitisation of electoral staff still has a long way to go.

“Whenever we choose the ‘Other’ category while enrolling either for electoral card or Aadhar,they send our cards as ‘female’. We don’t want that. We should be recognised as transgenders,” said Nilesh,a transgender community leader associated with project ‘Pehchaan’,which works in collaboration with local organisations in 17 states towards providing recognition to the transgender community.

Following in the footsteps of the EC,the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) too recognises the transgenders. Enrollment forms of the UIDAI have a third column — ‘T’,for ‘Transgender’ — along with ‘M’ and ‘F’ for ‘Male’ and ‘Female’ respectively.

The EC forms have a separate column ‘O’ for ‘Others’ (transgenders) in the voter enrollment and registration forms.

“This is true pehchaan (identity) for us. We are finally being recognised in society,” Rabia Sultana,president of the North India Hijra Organisation,said.

At a conference of transgenders held in the city recently,the community highlighted the difficulties faced by them in changing their gender in basic identity certificates such as birth certificates,licence papers and voter ID.

The community also welcomed the government’s initiative to set up a special pension scheme for members of the Hijra community. District Social Welfare officer Manju Varshney said,“This marks the progression of the community from a neglected group to a powerful socio-political group.”

Coming to the homeless in Delhi,there are 30,000 of them. The EC has already enrolled over 7,000 of them in the voters’ list this year.

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