Drive against transgenders begging on trains

In a bid to eradicate the practise of transgenders demanding money from passengers on suburban trains, the Railway Protection Force has launched special teams to levy fines on violators.
File photo of Transgenders in Chennai
File photo of Transgenders in Chennai

Chennai

The two squads, each comprising of six RPF personnel, have been formed to patrol trains in shifts. The task is not an easy one, with varying opinions on it. A sub-inspector of RPF said, “Commuters hesitate to file a formal complaint on the issue fearing that the transgenders will put a curse upon them. Asking for money on trains is a violation of law under Section 144 (2) of the Railway Act. However, at times we have even seen Magistrates hesitating to file charges fearing that a curse would befall them.” 
The RPF squad have a tough time when they take transgenders into custody, as they throw tantrums by stripping their clothes or mouthing a slew of curses. Speaking to DTNext , KK Ashraf, Senior Divisional Security Commissioner, RPF, said “The department   receives complaints from commuters on a regular basis, particularly on social media platforms and through text messages. He said that it was becoming a nuisance and distresses commuters as It goes to the level of extortion and manhandling in a few cases. A few months ago, a transgender was booked after an RPF personnel was attacked with a bottle at Central Station causing injuries.” 
On an average day, around ten transgenders are taken into custody only to be let off later with a fine. As per the rules, they can be fined up to Rs 2,000, however, the RPF let them off after collecting a fine of Rs 100 to Rs 1000, he added. According to Sudha, a city based social activist for transgenders, “We must understand that transgenders themselves are embarrassed about begging, especially for those who belong to Chennai. They are constantly watchful if their family members are on the same train. We have no other way to earn a living. As a consequence of which, we go to shops or railway stations to ask for money.”

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