“We Are Indians Too”: Assam’s Trans People Are Left Out of NRC

“We Are Indians Too”: Assam’s Trans People Are Left Out of NRC

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Cameraperson: Anjana Dutta
Video Editor: Rahul Sanpui

The transgender community is angry. We are Indians, we were born in India. Why should we leave this country and go to Bangladesh? 
Rosana, Resident, Guwahati     

Ever since the completed draft of National Register of Citizens (NRC) was released on 30 July 2018, Rosana, a trans person living in the Kamakhya station area of Guwahati, has been asking the question. The 20,000-strong transgender community from Assam had applied for the NRC but most of them have been left out of the completed draft. The primary reason for that is the mismatch of documents provided by the community.

While applying for the NRC, there were three gender options: male, female and others. The transgenders applied in the ‘others’ community. But the documents like birth certificates that the community submitted mentioned them as either ‘male’ or ‘female’. This created a mismatch. Till the last date, the officials assured us that they will evolve some necessary criteria specifically for the transgender community. But that didn’t happen, most transgenders were left out from the draft NRC.
Swati Bidhan Barua, Founder, All Assam Transgender Association       
Swati Bidhan Barua is the founder of All Assam Transgender Association       
Swati Bidhan Barua is the founder of All Assam Transgender Association       
(Photo: The Quint / Anjana Dutta)

Another critical document is the pre-1971 legacy data, which proves that someone’s ancestors were living in Assam before 24 March 1971. Since most transgenders leave home at an early age or are disowned by their families, most are not in a position to get this document and so could not provide it.

Seema is a transgender living in Guwahati. She left her home when she was a child. 
Seema is a transgender living in Guwahati. She left her home when she was a child. 
(Photo: The Quint / Anjana Dutta)
I am from Rangia district, I have submitted my PAN card for NRC. I left home as a child, that was 20 years ago. My family has disowned me. How can I get a document from them to prove my citizenship?       
Seema, Resident, Guwahati     

Without a valid legacy document, ID proofs like PAN card, voter ID and Aadhaar number are not enough for enrolment into the NRC. But these are the kind of documents that the community had submitted.

They are now looking to the Supreme Court. The All Assam Transgenders’ Association (AATA) has filed a petition for inclusion in the draft NRC. The petition will be heard on 16 August. They are hoping the SC will pass some directions to relax norms for the transgender category, and that they will be included in the final NRC.

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