Donald Sairem | IFP | IMPHAL
Two transwomen students were allegedly denied entry to cast votes in the students’ union elections at a college in Imphal Friday. Taking serious note of the incident, the All Manipur NupiMaanbi Association (AMaNA) immediately intervened and submitted a representation to the college principal and presiding officer of the election, seeking explanation why the students were denied entry.
Students’ union election was held for all government colleges in the state Friday. The incident happened at Manipur College around 11:30 today . It is alleged that the teacher verifying the students who came to cast their votes in the election did not allow them to enter through the women’s entrance.
One of the transgender students, L John Bruce, studying BA 5th semester in the college told the IFP that they stand in the queue for female as there was no separate queues for the transgender students.
“We had earlier requested the agents and workers of candidates to arrange separate transgender queue and entrance. However, such facility was not available at the venue,” she said.
John narrated that as she was about to enter, the female teacher asked her if she was a male or a female.
“Even after identifying myself as a transgender, the teacher did not allow entry and asked us to stand in the queues for male students instead,” John said while adding that transwomen students, including herself, were allowed to enter in female entrance in previous year elections.
Another student, M Jackson of BA 1st semester, lamented, “It was very shocking and humiliating for us in the presence of so many students.” She also contended that the transmen were allowed to enter in the male entrance while the transwomen were denied entry in the female entrance. This is some sort of discrimination, she added.
The returning officer of the college election, Dr K Khamba clarified that they were not denied their right to cast the vote but were asked to enter the polling booth from the entrance for male by the teacher.
“Nevertheless, we also admit that there were some loopholes on our part by failing to arrange separate queue for the transgender students,” he maintained.
In the meantime, AMaNA secretary Santa Khurai, who rushed to the spot, along with the students submitted a representation seeking explanation why the students were denied entry.
She told the IFP that legal support will be taken to prevent such ‘transphobic acts’ and victimisation of trans people in the future.
While pointing out that bullying or exclusion on the ground of one’s gender is a ragging offence as notified by the UGC, Santa decried that the teacher, who should be curbing ragging, encourages it in the educational institute.