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12 Jul 2020, Edition - 1825, Sunday

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Transgender-engineer held for anti-NEET stir made to strip in prison

AR Meyyammai

Chennai: Trangender-engineer Grace Banu, who got arrested recently for protesting against NEET, has alleged that she was harassed and belittled by the woman cops in Puzhal Central Prison.

Banu and another transwoman Monal were among the 12 persons to get arrested for anti-NEET protest in Chennai on Sept 7. They were remanded and lodged in the Puzhal prison in the early hours the next day which was when both of them had suffered humiliation at the hands of women cops.

“As the other 10 protestors were men, they were sent to the men’s jail and we were taken to the women’s prison. Two of the women cops there said they could ascertain our gender only if we removed our clothes. They did not care about my resistance and made me strip. But what happened thereafter was even more hurting. They forced me to sit in a chair saying the private parts were not visible. Giving an awkward look as if I were not a human being, they ridiculed me,” the 29-year-old, who has just completed B.E (Electrical and Electronics Engineering) and is likely to join a software firm in Delhi, says with anger in her voice.

The more valid question she asks is what is the necessity to check them when the doctors at the Government Hospital in Saidapet issued a medical certificate certifying their gender. “As mandated by the rules, we were taken to prison only after medical check-up,”Banu told The Covai Post.

They were then lodged at a quarantine cell as long as they were released on bail on September 11. “We were discriminated and confined at the quarantine till we came out. They did not consider us as women and hence kept us aloof, but is it okay to lodge accused who were brought at night along with us,”Banu asks.

When asked senior lawyer Sudha Ramalingam said there is no necessity to ascertain the gender of any person . “When the Supreme Court has already said that we can identify ourselves as male or female, where is the question of somebody else ascertaining and more so in this case when the doctors have already certified her gender,”she asks.

Deeply wounded by the insensitivity of the women police, Banu who has been to jail for the first time and that too for a social cause is now planning to petition the State Home Secretary, DGP and ADGP (Prisons) seeking action against them.

Meanwhile, ADGP (prisons) C Sylendra Babu told The Covai Post, “If the transgender has made such an allegation, we will enquire about it.”

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