Thirty five-year-old Naseema (name changed) and a gradually swelling number from the approximate 4,500 sex workers under her care are the latest admirers of the 73-year-old anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare.
After all the nameless sex worker, said Naseema, bears the biggest brunt of corruption in the country. “We have to pay double the bribe even to get licences, ration cards and other identification documents issued in our name - a right that every citizen of this country enjoys,” she said.
Apart from the crusade against corruption, Naseema said business at GB Road has also increased thanks to the protest at Ramlila Ground nearby.
Senior vice president of Bharatiya Patita Uddhar Sabha (BPUS), an NGO for, and mainly headed by, sex workers from its local office at brothel number 50 on GB Road, Naseema said they have seen a jump of roughly 25%.
“There has certainly been a rise in the number of visitors that we’ve noticed in the past three-four days. Though we haven’t actually calculated it, business seems to have gone up by around 25%,” claimed Naseema, who ‘represents’ as many as 116 brothels in the area.
Recently renamed Shraddhanand Marg, business at Garstin Bastion (GB) road usually witnesses good business whenever Ramlila Ground plays host to any large public gathering, claimed Iqbal Ahmed, office secretary of the BPUS.
However, their ‘unique’ status or rather the lack of it prohibits people like her from openly pledging support to Hazare. So, she and 25 of her girls
make daily visits to Ramlila Ground posing as NGO workers after their evening prayers at an adjacent mosque. On Monday, they sent a letter to Hazare expressing solidarity with his cause.
“A couple of the girls and I had visited him (Anna) when he was fasting at Jantar Mantar in early April this year. We try and attract as less attention as possible for obvious reasons,” Naseema added.