In an effort to boost the confidence of people from the LGBTQIA+ community, the Chhattisgarh Police have recruited 13 transgender persons as constables. According to a senior government official, this is the first time that transgender persons have been inducted into the state police force.
“Thirteen candidates from the transgender community have been recruited as constables on the basis of merit. Two others are in the waiting list,” The New Indian Express quoted Chhattisgarh’s Director General of Police D M Awasthi as telling PTI on Wednesday, March 3.
He further said that of the successful candidates who have become Chhattisgarh Police constables, eight transgender persons belong to Raipur district, two are from Rajnandgaon and one each hail from Bilaspur, Korba and Surguja districts.
“We welcome them and believe many others from the community would join the police force in future,” he added.
While the examination was held in 2017-18, the results were declared on March 1 this year.
“I never thought in my dreams that I would be a cop. Despite facing various odds, 13 of us have finally made it,” said Rajesh Patel (24), one of those recruited as constable and hails from Raipur.
“My father had a small cycle repair shop and my mother used to work as domestic help. The amount earned by them was spent on food and studies as we are eight siblings,” she said, adding how she faced bullying and harassment in her residential locality, before joining the police force.
Patel was bullied in school, but when she joined college, she joined a ‘badhai toli’ (a group of transgenders who sing and dance and give good wishes) and started begging in trains.
“I decided to let people know who I am. My parents were initially unaware of what I was doing, but they later came to know through someone in the locality,” she said.
However, she stopped her activities after she realised it could hamper the marriage prospects of her sibling.
“I started working with my mother as a domestic help, but there also I had to face humiliation, prompting me to leave home and rejoin the toli,” she said. She has been taking care of her mother, after her father died last year.
Patel, who has done a Bachelor of Arts (BA) course, credited transgender rights activist and their community chief Vidya Rajput, for helping her to dream and achieve her goal.
According to Rajput, 40 transgender persons from different districts applied for the exam. Following this, the Chhattisgarh Police gave an opportunity to them in recruitment in 2017-18.
They were laughed at by the other male and female aspirants initially, but later, the others saw their hard work and started getting along with them.
“Parents of some of these aspirants scolded them for applying under the ‘third gender’ category and also beat them up, but their morale did not go down,” Rajput said.
As many as 23 transgender persons had cleared the physical test for recruitment in the police force and appeared for the written exam (in 2017-18).
“They were a bit disappointed when results were not announced for almost two years, and all of them had to return to their previous jobs, like washing dishes in hotels and joining the ‘badhai toli’ for livelihood,” Rajput said.
The state government recently conducted the physical test of candidates who had cleared the written exam and the recruitment was then done.
“We have taken the first step towards equality, but there is a long way to go,” Rajput said. She added that the community is making efforts to get reservation in government jobs.