May 30, 2024

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Challenges Faced While Enrolling Persons Of Third Gender In The Voter List.

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Transgender population remains one of the most marginalized groups in the society. They become victim of stigmatization and exclusion by the society. Even their own family members view them as burden. Due to harassment and discrimination, they mostly drop out and remain away from education. Lack of legal protection results in unemployment and abject poverty. Possessing identification documents has always been a challenge for the transgender community.

As an Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) of 47- Ambassa (ST) Assembly Constituency and Sub-Divisional Magistrate, one fine day transgender person namely, Nupur Chakraborty came to my office for some government work. The person is the resident of Netaji Nagar area in Kulai Gram Panchayat in Ambassa Sub-Division of Dhalai District and informed that there are 6 more Transgender persons and they all are residing at Netaji Nagar just few kilo-meters from Ambassa, the District Headquarter of Dhalai District.

We noticed that Nupur Chakraborty is the only transgender voter of Ambassa Assembly Constituency who could enrol herself in the the Electoral Roll as a voter of Polling Station No. 16 Netaji Nagar Anganwadi Center. Nupur Chakraborty acts as a Guardian/ Guru for the 6 other transgender persons , namely Jiban Sarkar, Jhumur Debnath,  Suchi Ghosh, Putuli Debnath, Moni Chakraborty & Munni Sarkar. During discussion, it is informed that when Nupur Chakraborty was staying in Khejurbagan Ashram in Agartala responsibility was given to look after these 6 transgender persons.  So Nupur Chakraborty brought them to Netajinagar in Ambassa.

They have been living under the same roof since last 8 years. It is also learnt that the 6 transgender persons have tried to obtain legal documents like ration card, family register, aadhar card, domicile and nationality certificates, but in vain. They also tried to enrol themselves as voters several times but could not succeed due to lack of sufficient documents to establish their identify like proof of being ordinary resident like ration Card or register of residents, and proof of nationality like Permanent Resident of Tripura Certificate. 

After receiving the information, I sent  Tehsildar, Ambassa to inquire about their residence and problems in the locality. Tehsildar reported that the transgender persons are peacefully living with their guardian Nupur Chakraborty for the last 8 years at the same address. I also tried to ascertain the reasons behind why certain documents could not be issued to them. On further enquiry, it was found that their parents had denied recognizing transgender people as their children, owing to social stigma and discrimination.

Under the above circumstances, I sought suggestion from the Chief Electoral Officer of Tripura, Sri Kiran Gitte, IAS on how to proceed further. He suggested me to take certain measures in consultation with the Gram Panchayat and Block Development officer. Accordingly, I requested Block Development Officer, Ambassa to register their names in the Family Register of Netaji Nagar ward of Kulai Gram Panchayat. Based on the entry in the family register of panchayat, Ration Card and Residential Proof Certificate was issued by the Office of Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Ambassa. Thereafter, the Booth Level Officer was sent to their residence wherein he arranged to distribute and fill up Form-6 for inclusion of their names as a First Time Voters under Part 16 of 47-Ambassa (ST) Assembly Constituency. Accordingly, the concerned Assistant Electoral Registration Officer heard the applications and finally their names are enrolled in the voter list.

I am very happy and satisfied that as a part of my job as Electoral Roll Officer, I could provide the transgender persons their constitutional right to vote in democratic process and also to provide them ration card and other legal documents so that they can take benefits of welfare programs and reside with dignity as citizens of India.

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