65% enumeration over, identity issues crop up

While civic officials claim that 65% of the city's population has been enumerated, identity issues have cropped up, thanks to the personal details sought for the Census 2011.
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Updated on Feb 24, 2011 01:57 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

While civic officials claim that 65% of the city's population has been enumerated, identity issues have cropped up, thanks to the personal details sought for the Census 2011.

Enumerators on the field have reported many cases where members of the transgender community have insisted on being marked as females.

They also faced problems with certain sections of the Buddhist community, who demanded that their caste be mentioned as Mahars. Census rules stipulate that people who register themselves as Buddhists cannot mention any caste because the religion does not have any.

This time, the census, for the first time had provided a third option in the gender category called 'Others'.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which is handling the Census operations in the city, insisted that they would all be clubbed in the 'Others' category. This has evoked mixed reactions from the community, with some saying that being labelled as others is "no recognition at all". An enumerator, who had visited the house of a famed Dalit leader, said, "They constantly insisted that I mention both Buddhism as well as Mahar in their forms. This goes against our rules and I couldn't do so."

Even members from the transgender community had mixed reactions to the BMC's insistence of 'Others' category.

Gauri Sawant, founder of the Sakhi Char Choughi Trust that works with the transgender community, said: "We are grateful that the state has at least recognised us as a third gender. Members of the transgender community should not hanker to be called females because biologically we are not females."

But a transgender activist, who works and resides in Kamathipura, differed. "This is like taking one step forward and two back. When the government decided to have more than two categories in the gender, they should not have clubbed the rest of the communities into Others."

Shridhar Kubal, BMC in-charge of Census operations, insisted, "As per the rules, they will have to be identified in the 'Others' category because they biologically do not fall under either male or female category."

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