By: Saba Rani
PESHAWAR: The transgender community must now truly feel it has nowhere to turn to as the police have been accused of sexually assaulting seven of them.
On July 14, seven persons who are transgender — Choti, Diya, Sonia, Nomi, Jagri, Shahzadi and Wafa — were arrested and reportedly sexually abused by the Cantt police in Nowshera. They were also kept in illegal confinement for three to four hours and forced to dance in front of the policemen.
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“They raided our living quarter and took us to the police station where they raped us all and made jokes about us,” Diya said. Diya added she was clearly left disillusioned by the law-enforcement system. She said the police raid their apartments frequently and take money from them if they return from any function.
Sahil, another person who is transgender, said the Cantt SHO also asked them to leave the district in 24 hours. She said the Nowshera DPO wanted to exile the “sinful transgender community from the district”.
“We can leave a district or a province, but we can’t go out of this country,” she said. “We are also Pakistanis and want to live here in peace”.
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Separately, a news conference was held at Peshawar Press Club to condemn the actions of the police against persons who are transgender. The conference was convened by TransAction Alliance Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Paro, vice president of the organisation, demanded an end to this harassment by the police and society in general.
“How can we accept such behaviour by people who are appointed by the government for our protection?” she asked. “We are not even safe from our so- called protectors and the physical, sexual and emotional abuse we face on a daily basis must end.”