Rajasthan’s Ganga Kumari could well have been India’s first transgender in a state police force, at least a year before Tamil Nadu’s K Pritha Yashini, if she was allowed to join as a constable in December 2015.
On Sunday, Yashini bagged that honour when she joined duty as a sub-inspector (SI) at the office of Dharmapuri superintendent of police after completing training in Chennai. She joined the service last year after Madras high court’s intervention.
In Rajasthan, Ganga’s batch mates joined duty in October last year, but she was denied the chance after doctors discovered during the medical examination that she was a hermaphrodite – commonly known as transgender – and officers of the police department got cold feet for lack of clarity.
It’s been more than a year now. Her legal battle is in the initial stage – she filed a writ in Rajasthan high court in December and the court sought reply from the state government in three weeks. The case is likely to be heard next on April 26.
The 24-year-old transgender from Jakhari village in Raniwada, 538 km southwest of Jaipur, passed the written and physical exam for recruitment of police constables in Rajasthan in March 2015.
The state police had advertised for recruitment of 12,178 constables in 2013. More than 125,000 candidates appeared for the test.
After the medical tests, her case was referred to the police headquarters in Jaipur, which, in turn, sent it to the home department, but there’s been no decision on Kumari’s fate yet.
“I hope to get justice after the court’s intervention,” Ganga told HT on telephone from Jakhari village in Jalore district where she lives in a joint family of more than 20 members.
“But I will always miss being the first transgender in a state police force,” she added.
Ganga said she never faced any problems when she went to school and college in Raniwada town. “No one treated me badly; they understood that this is the way God has made me. In fact, even in the police force, all officers I have met for my job have said I will get it someday but no one knows when,” she said.
Her counsel, Tejaram Choudhary, says the case is likely to come up for hearing on April 26. “We hope that the state files its reply before that so that the case can be disposed of soon,” he said.
Rajasthan formed a transgender welfare board in August 2016 with four third gender people as its members and the minister for social justice and empowerment as its head but the board has never met, said Pushpa, a transgender activist and member of the board.
In April 2015, the Supreme Court acknowledged a third gender that is neither male nor female in a landmark judgment ordering the government to make sure that transgenders get job reservations In educational institutions and jobs and facilities including a voter card, passport and driving licence.
However, in most states, the community is yet to get even identity cards.