To

Sh. Arvind Kejriwal

The Hon’ble Chief Minister of Delhi

Dear Chief Minister,

The object of writing this letter to you is the welfare and the dignity of the transgender community. On the 29th of July, Ms. Alka Lamba, one of your party members and serving MLA from Chandni Chowk constituency, took to the online platform of Twitter to pass a comment on someone, understandably a political critique. In doing so, she referred to transgender persons as “beech wale” who clap loudly (“thaali peetna”). Her exact statement (translated into English) was this:  “Even the ‘middle ones’ don’t clap so much as this person does single handedly ! Clever people understand by a mere gesture”

We take severe offense at the fact that your party member and sitting MLA chose to ridicule trans people, to make her point about a third party, and that she used a deeply disrespectful and stereotyped reference to transgender persons. Further, despite she being notified of the same and being asked to withdraw the tweet as well as apologize by numerous people, she has neither pulled down the tweet nor has she apologized to the transgender community. The link to the tweet is here and a screenshot of the tweet (as it exists online today is attached) https://twitter.com/LambaAlka/status/1023632214347657216

This development comes at a time when your government has taken a progressive step to establish a Transgender Welfare Board in Delhi, after pursuit by friends from the transgender community, and it sullies the record of your party and the efforts of all those sensitive individuals in your party. How can a government trying to take steps towards the welfare of a community simultaneously allow its members to degrade the same community?

We wish to make it clear that it is not our objective to name and shame people, but what Alka Lamba did was not only wrong, it was extremely humiliating for an entire community and we hope she realizes the gravity of this. As your good self must be aware, just a few days back, Ms. Maneka Gandhi, the Union Minister for Women and Child Development also made some derogatory remarks and gestures about transgender persons inside the Parliament and had to apologize, owing to intense public pressure. While it is anybody’s discretion to criticize someone in a constructive way, it is definitely not alright to offend and denigrate a whole section of people in the garb of ‘critique’ of some third party or on the pretext of ‘lack of knowledge’.

It needs not reiteration that transgender individuals are human beings and equal citizens, with all rights under the Constitution as well as per the judgement of the Apex Court in NALSA and we deserve to be treated with dignity.  We, therefore, demand an immediate public apology from Ms. Lamba for her tweet and a withdrawal of the same. We also demand that AAP must issue a statement publicly condemning this tweet of its sitting MLA and assure the transgender community, especially in Delhi, that it would fully respect and implement the judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in NALSA versus Union of India, in all aspects and particularly would adopt a zero-tolerance approach as regards discrimination of transgender persons.

We shall support any genuine efforts from your government towards the well-being and strengthening of rights of the transgender community and hope that such incidents will not happen again. We also urge you to take adequate and consistent measures to sensitize your party members, at all levels, to ensure they don’t conduct themselves in a manner that cause offense or harm to other people, especially the marginalized and vulnerable sections.

Signed,

The Trans Community and Its Allies,

Organizations:

1. Telangana Hijra Intersex Transgender Samiti (THITS)

2. Sampoorna Working Group – A Network of Trans & Intersex Indians.

3. Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS)

4. LABIA – A Queer Feminist LBT Collective Mumbai

5. Sangama

6. Karnataka Sex Workers Union

Individuals:

1. Grace Banu, Transrights Now Collective, Delhi

2. Bittu Karthik, Telangana Hijra Intersex Transgender Samiti, WSS- Delhi, Karnataka Janashakti

3. Rihana Yadav, Community Empowerment Trust, Delhi

4. Satya Rai Nagpaul, Trans Activist, Delhi & Mumbai.

5. Anshu, Trans Activist, Delhi

6. Jamal, Transman Collective, Delhi

7. Meera Sanghamitra, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) & Telangana Hijra Intersex Transgender Samiti (THITS)

8. Vyjayanthy Vasantha Mogi, Telangana Hijra Intersex Transgender Samiti (THITS)

9. Rachana Mudraboyina, Telangana Hijra Intersex transgender Samiti

10. Gee Imaan, Trans rights activist, Bangalore and Kerala

11. Esvi Anpu Kothazham, Transgender Person

12. Shyam Balasubramanian, Transman Coimbatore.

13. Kanaga Varathan, Transrights Activist, Chennai, Tamil Nadu

14. Rumi Harish, Trans Activist, Bangalore

15. Vihaan Peethambar, Board member – Queerala, an LGBTIQA+ organization

16. Shilpi Banerjee, Clinical Psychologist, Delhi

17. Uma, Jeeva Organization, Bangalore

18. Aaditya, Executive Board Member Tweet Foundation, Trans man, Delhi

19. Namrata Jaiswal, Activist and member of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Telangana State and working with Aman Vedika, a non profit organisation.

20. Nishank, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Youth Wing Convenor, Madhya Pradesh.

21. Dr. Sylvia Karpagam, Public Health Doctor and researcher, Karnataka

22.Madhu Bhushan, independent activist-writer, CIEDS Collective, Bangalore

23. Xavier Dias, Human Rights Activist, Editor Khan Kaneej Aur ADHIKAR.

24.Sreedhar, Managing Trustee, Environics Trust

25. Arundhati Dhuru NAPM

26.Nishi Khandelwal, Nirantar

27.Krishna Shree, M.A. student, Madras School of Social Work

28.Purnima Gupta, Feminist Activist, Delhi

29. Saswati Ghosh, Academic and activist, Kolkata

30. Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey and Shankar Singh, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, Rajasthan

31. Pyoli Swatija, Advocate-on-record at Supreme Court of India

32. Anuradha Banerji, Independent researcher, New Delhi.

33. Urmila Chanam, Breaking the Silence, Ambassador World Pulse, UNFPA National Laadli Awardee, Iconic Women Awardee( WEF)

34. Badal Saroj , CPM, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh

35.Amit Kumar, National Organizer, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)

36.Roma, All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP), Uttar Prdaesh

37.Rishit Neogi, Ambedkar University Delhi

38.Vidya Dinker, Citizens Forum for Mangalore Development & INSAF

39.Gabriele Dietrich, Pennurimai Iyakkam, Tamil Nadu.

40.Basant Hetamsaria, NAPM, Jharkhand.

41.Sabita Parida, Independent Research and Evaluation Consultant New Delhi

42. Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Feminist and Human Rights Activist, Mumbai

43. R. Indira, Basti Adhikar Manch

44. Chayanika Shah, Queer feminist activist, Mumbai

45. Kiran Shaheen, All India People’s Forum, (AIPF) New Delhi

46. Venkat Reddy, Child Rights Protection Forum, Hyderabad

47. Himshi Singh, NAPM-Delhi,

48. Uma; National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) , Uttarakhand

49. Prafulla Samantara, Lok Shakti Abhiyan and NAPM

50.Gautam Mody, New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI)

51.Tara Murali, Activist

52. Prof. C. Ramachandraiah, Centre for Economic and Social Studies, Hyderabad.

53. Ajita, People’s Union for Democratic Rights (New Delhi)

54. Prof. Padmaja Shah, Retired Dean of Journalism, Osmaina University, Hyd.

55. Samhita Barooah, Independent Researcher, Guwahati, Assam

56. Prof. Sujatha Surepally, Satavahana University, Telangana,

57. Suresh Ediga, Concerned Citizen

58. Nimisha Agarwal, Scientist, Activist

59. Komal Mohite, Activist, Delhi

60. Prof. Mary E John, Feminist Scholor, New Delhi

61. Adv. Shalini Gera, Chhattisgarh.

62. Priya Shkla, Advocate and Aam Aadmi Party, Youth Wing Convenor, Chhattisgarh.

63. Inji Pennu, Journalist, Global Voices

64. Kavitha Kuruganti , Farmers Rights Activist

65. Anjali Bhardwaj and Amrita Johri, Satark Nagrik Sangathan, New Delhi

66. Nita Mahadev, Social Activist, Gujarat

67. Anil Hebbar, Activist, Mumbai

68. Priya Pillai, Environmental and Social Activist, Delhi.

69. Nandini Rao, Feminist Activist and Trainer, New Delhi

70. Rinchin, Social Activist , Chhattisgarh

71. Madhuri, social activist, Jagrit Dalit Adivasi Sangathan, Madhya Pradesh

72. Uma V Chandru, Bangalore

73. Karuna, Chennai

74. Nisha Biswas, Civil Liberties Activist, W. Bengal

 

75. Seshagiri BV, Social Activist

76. Meena Seshu , Sangram, Sangli

77. Chitra Mathur, PhD scholar, Public Systems Group, IIM Ahmedabad

78. Dr. Sunilam, Kisan Sangharsh Samiti and Samajwadi Samagam, Madhya Pradesh

79. Manohar Elavarthi, Bengaluru, Swaraj Abhiyan

80. Shweta Tripathi, Social Activist, Delhi

81. Maj Gen (Read.) S.G.Vombatkere  Mysore

82. Satyam Shrivastava, SRUTI, Delhi

83. Ashok Choudhary, All India Union of Forest Working People

84. Joe Athialy, Activist, New Delhi

85. Shakun Doundiyakhed, Feminist Consultant

86. Ashwini Kamal, Activist

87. Vasavi Lori, Journalist-Activist, Jharkhand

88. Devangana Kalita, Pinjra Tod

89. Ravi Rebbapragada, Mines Minerals and People

90. Geeta Gairola, Uttarakhand Mahila Manch, Dehradun

 

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