Karnataka Police Acts criminalises the hijra community

Reposting here with permission. The matter in question is the amendment of the Karnataka Police Act, with provisions (lifted from Acts set down by the British a century ago) that criminalise the hijra community. The Amendments have been passed, and the last CSMR meeting was held to address the new concerns raised.

Dear All

Here are the brief minutes of yesterday’s CSMR meeting on the Karnataka Police Act: (next meeting on Wednesday, 25th July at 6pm)

There were around 20 people present including individuals representing from Aneka, Sangama, Karnataka Sexual Minorities Forum, PUCL (Karnataka), Lawyers Collective and ALF

The Amendments to the Police Act have been passed despite our efforts last year petitioning the government, and the Governor. These amendments are very dangerous and need to be struck off the statute book, we cannot depend on the government’s assurance on whether they will use these laws or not. The law specifies that hijras who kidnap children, indulge in unnatural offences, and offences of this nature will be listed in a register, and this register can be used to summon those listed. This is based on the model of the Criminal Tribes Act that has been repealed.

The consensus from those present was that we need to work towards more awareness about these amendments within the LGBT/sexual minority community, and that we need to respond to the law at parallel levels — talking to government officials, protests, media advocacy, and preparing for a possible challenge in court.

The first step will be a public meeting that we have planned where we will invite representatives of the BJP, Congress and JD(S), including the Law Minister Mr Suresh Kumar. The date we will suggest to the Minister is August 1st. We will finalise the date depending on his availability. We will also invite Motamma/Manjula Naidu from the Congress, Ramesh Babu/Narayanswamy from the JD(S) and the singer and Member of Parliament B. Jayashree as the Chief Guest. We will finalise a moderator and one person from the hijra and jogappa community to speak at this event. BT Venkatesh and Arvind Narrain will speak about the legal aspects of the amendments.

The suggested venues were NGO Hall and Rotary Club, depending on availability

We will also organise a Press Conference on the day before the meeting

We also discussed the possibility of getting an MLA to ask a question on this issue during zero hour in the Assembly session

Arvind and Siddharth from ALF  will work on a pamphlet that will be translated into Kannada (Sangama to do this)  and Tamil (Niruj will be requested to translate) – this pamphlet can be distributed to the LGBT community and also during the events we organise.

There will be a follow up meeting next Wednesday on 25th July at ALF at 6 pm to finalise the date and details related to the public meeting, Please do try and make it for this meeting since we need to mobilise as much support as possible to put pressure on the government to repeal this black law.

In solidarity

Siddharth

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