NAPM asks RS not to pass Transgender, Anti-Traffiking bills in haste

The National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has urged the Rajya Sabha not to pass Transgender Bill in haste, instead refer it to a Select Committee. Likewise, it also urged to refer the Anti-Trafficking Bill also to a Select Committee. It calls upon the Government of India to ensure all constitutional rights and safeguards of transpersons, sex workers and other marginalizized sections including Right to Life, Liberty, Equality, Self-Determination, Non-Discrimination and Reservations.

NAPM veterans Medha Patkar, Prafulla Samantara, Sandeep Pandey, Anjali Bharadwaj and others said that a year after their national protest, hundreds of persons from the transgender community are once again storming the streets of Delhi today. They are resisting the draconian provisions of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2018 that has been recently passed by the Lok Sabha and is pending consideration of the Rajya Sabha.

In the past ten days since the Transgender Bill was passed, the community has vigorously expressed its outrage across the country, in state after state and the media as well as civil society had to take note of and widely report the gross violations and inadequacies in the Bill. Except for adopting a more reasonable definition of transgender persons, they deplored that the present (‘amended’) Bill has retained most of the problematic aspects of the previous regressive versions.

Along with the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 (passed by Lok Sabha a few months ago), NAPM said that this regressive legislation is likely to jeopardize hijra and other transgender, gender non-conforming communities and further discrimination, harassment, and institutional violence.

NAPM deplored that the Trafficking Bill, passed without consulting a broad-based constituency including working class sex workers and their organizations provide harsh punishments of 10 years for begging. Several provisions of the Bill go against fundamental principles of criminal justice and the Indian Constitution. The Bill vests excessive powers in the police and creates several layers of bureaucratic institutions with no accountability.

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