HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

Eunuchs in support of women’s safety

Shara Ashraf, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 08, 2013
First Published: 19:34 IST(8/1/2013) | Last Updated: 11:53 IST(9/1/2013)

Moved by the gruesome rape of a 23-year-old in a moving bus, eunuchs— a section of society ridiculed and abhorred by the majority, have formed a force that sarcastically calls itself ‘Chhakka Squad’. Its motive: to counter sexual harassment against women in the Capital.  With brooms, jutis and play cards with hard hitting slogans, they plan to go from one locality to another and stage skits and sing songs to publicly ‘embarrass’ those who sexually harass women.

The 900 eunuchs, who are member of SPACE — ‘Society for People’s Awareness, Care & Empowerment’ — a human  rights organisation, have also set up a helpline. Women can call on 011-65647105 to register their complaints. “If we get to know that a guy has sexually offended a girl, we will stage a dharna in front of that person’s house, follow him wherever he goes and force him to apologise,” says 24-year-old Sonia, a member of the hijra community.

“Many insult us by calling us chhakkas, but we have respect for women. Ab hum batayenge chhakke kya kar saktye hain. Hum auraton ki beizzati nahi hone dengi,” says 22-year-old Mallika.

Rupika Dhillon, project director, SPACE, says  “This community has realised its social and ethical responsibilities. They understand the trauma of rape and sexual molestation as they face it on a regular basis.”

Girls, many of who are otherwise wary of eunuchs, find it a heartening move. “I am moved to see the eunuch community fighting for women’s rights. It’s a great step and a slap on the face of Delhi men,” says writer Sonali Chowdhury.

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