Dr. Kamala Hampana released the report “Chasing Numbers, Betraying People: Relooking at HIV Services in Karnataka” in Bangalore

Press Release

Bangalore, 17 Dec 2011: “Sexual minorities must follow Ambedkar’s slogan of Educate, Unite and Agitate,’’ said Dr Kamala Hampana, literary figure, while releasing the report “Chasing Numbers, Betraying People: Relooking at HIV Services in Karnataka” at United Theological College here on Saturday.

The author of 50 books, who also served as a chairperson of All India Kannada literary meet – 2003, clearly articulated that sexual minorities must assert themselves as human beings as access to even basic needs such as toilets, seats in the bus are denied to them. “We cannot wait for others to come and give us our rights. That will not happen; we need to march to Vidhan Soudha and demand our rights,’’ she added. “Reading this report is a big eye opener as I found out a whole new world of realities of people we know so little about even though they are in our midst,’’ she mused.

Sudha Nagavarapu from Janaarogya Andolana said that government encourages the fudging of statistics, whether it is malnutrition or HIV intervention so that it appears that success is achieved. It’s because the government is under pressure to show progress on the international commitments.

Members of the sexual minority community spoke of violations that routinely face in the name of HIV prevention work. Sanjeeva V, an activist living with HIV activist pointed out that People Living with HIV were excluded from programmes even though there was supposedly a policy that emphasises their role. The breach of confidentiality in numerous ways, including the manner in which the data is demanded, means that people’s privacy is invaded with impunity. Shobha, a Jogappa from Gulbarga highlighted that HIV prevention and treatment seemed to be the only concern of the government.

The target-driven approach where people are reduced to mere numbers is inherently anti-human rights. The lowest in the pyramid, face the worst abuses in the name of achieving targets.

All the routine and systematic violations are known to everyone working in these programmes are aware of it. However no one talks about the elephant in the room due to fear of reprisals of various sorts – including a stoppage of funding.

Since the government itself is guilty of these human rights violations the moot question is “where then do people go to demand their rights?” The agitation that Kamala Hampana spoke about is necessary to make the government and other agencies accountable to the communities whose welfare it is supposed to work for.

While issues related to the spread, prevalence as well as societal attitudes to HIV, have received considerable media attention; those related to the quality of services, and various compromises to people’s rights inherent in the HIV intervention is sidestepped or ignored.  The rights that are compromised include – the right to health, the right of effected populations to participate and shape policies as well as right to privacy. Various ethical considerations that especially important while dealing with vulnerable communities are often given the go-by; under different pretexts.

This report focuses on the experiences of male-born sexual minorities in Karnataka vis-à-vis HIV related services– and is an outcome of a collaborative process where community members have been co-producers of knowledge.

The report sketches the barriers encountered by them in receiving or seeking care in terms of access and availability of services. Attention is also drawn to the lapses and violations that occur in the name of providing heath services The report ends with a set of recommendations that have emerged from the sexual minority communities for policy makers, health-workers and activists

The entire report can be download from the page –  http://ksmf.in/?page_id=10

For more information contact Rajesh (9886155148) or Shubha (9243446105)

anekatrust@gmail.com

Report Launch – Chasing Numbers, Betraying People: Relooking at HIV Services in Karnataka

Aneka and Karnataka Sexual Minorities Forum

Invite you for the launch of their report “Chasing Numbers, Betraying People: Relooking at HIV Services in Karnataka”.  

By

Dr. R Balasubramaniam (Founder of Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement (SVYM) and ex special investigator and vigilance director for the Karnataka Lok Ayukta) and

Dr. Kamala Hampana (Scholar, Author of over 50 books and served as Chairperson -All India Kannada Literary Meet 2003)

The report is also endorsed by People’s Health Movement‘s Bangalore Urban Chapter (JAABU – Janarogya Andolana – Bangalore urban).

On Saturday, 17th December 2011, At  United Theological College, Millers Road, Near Cantt Railway Station’s Back Gate, Bangalore. Between 4:00 – 6:30 PM

While issues related to spread and prevention of HIV has received considerable attention – the quality of services,  compromises of people’s right – to health, to participate and shape policies as well as issues around privacy, and ethics do not are sidestepped or ignored.

This report focuses on the experiences of male-born sexual minorities in Karnataka vis-à-vis HIV related services– and is an outcome of a collaborative process where community members have been co-producers of knowledge.

Sexual minority communities have long faced challenges in accessing public services; including healthcare. Given that HIV places a significant burden on male-born sexual minorities; there are a range of HIV-related services and interventions that especially addresses them. The report sketches the barriers encountered by them in receiving or seeking care in terms of access and availability of services. Attention is also drawn to the lapses and violations that occur in the name of providing heath services The report ends with a set of recommendations that have emerged from the sexual minority communities for policy makers, health-workers and activists

For more information contact  Rajesh (9886155148)  or Shubha (9243446105)

Vacancy for PROJECT MANAGER in Sangama, Bangalore for GFATM Round 9 HIV/MSM-TG component

Employing organization: Sangama, Bangalore

Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Date of Issue: October 13, 2010

Closing Date: October 20, 2010

About Sangama: Sangama, a human rights organization founded in 1999 works mainly with sexual minorities, sex workers and people living with HIV in India through human rights activism, community led campaigns, providing support to community based organizations, producing documentary films, reports, etc. Helping community organizations in providing health services and advocating for health rights is an important part of our work.

Sangama will implement a long term project titled Project Pehchan: Strengthening of MSM (Men who have sex with Men) and TG (Transgender) Community Systems in partnership with emerging and existing Community Based organisations (CBOs) in the states of Karnataka & Kerala, with funding support from the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), and technical assistance from India HIV/AIDS Alliance, New Delhi. Main objectives of this intervention are: a) To strengthen community systems that reach MSM and TG communities; b) To increase the number of beneficiaries reached by such systems; c) To strengthen the relevant health system resources and d) To increase knowledge and advocacy for MSM and TG concerns.

Sangama is looking for a suitable individual for the position of Project Manager, Project Pehchan.

Job description of Project Manager – Main Functions:

The Project Manager will primarily be responsible for the overall implementation of the project with the MSM and TG communities. The project entails development and strengthening of 34 CBOs across Karnataka & Kerala to reach MSM and TG individuals with HIV messages and services over a period of five years.

The principal role will be managing programmatic, technical and organizational development within Sangama and provide similar support to the programme implementing partner CBOs; supporting and managing programme development and capacity building; promoting innovation and documentation of good practices in HIV/AIDS programming for MSM and TG communities and other vulnerable populations; and, actively representing and contributing to planning and policy work on behalf of Pehchan Project.

Key Responsibilities of the Project Manager:

The Project Manager will lead, support and manage the development and implementation of various programme implementation plans and budgets (including that of the partner CBOs).

– S/he needs to contribute to the development and implementation of effective monitoring, review and evaluation strategies and activities for the programme against agreed project deliverables.

– S/he needs to work along with other team members in preparing and submitting necessary reports to India HIV/AIDS Alliance, different State AIDS Control Societies (SACS) and Technical Support Units (TSU) on timely basis, and coordinating with the said authorities for various programmes.

S/he will be required to contribute towards operational research related to the project, and developing tools and resources in prevention programming.

1. Capacity Building and Technical Support to CBOs

The Project Manager will assess the programmatic, organizational and technical support needs of the CBO partners and will accordingly identify, develop and implement capacity building plans for needs identified for community mobilization, CBO formation and functioning.

– In collaboration with the administration and finance team s/he will review partner financial systems and procedures and facilitate specific technical support in areas of overall programme budgeting, financial management, internal control systems and grant management. S/he also needs to monitor, review and evaluate the progress and impact of the capacity building programmes.

2. Team Planning and Development

– In consultation with Program Director, the Project Manager will develop strategic direction and work plans for the project staff and will closely work with the project team for implementation of all the activities.

 

3. External Relationships and Networking

The Project Manager will work closely to strengthen Sangama’s working relationship with India HIV/AIDS Alliance, partner CBOs and external institutions involved in HIV/AIDS prevention programmes (including key government agencies, donor agencies, NGO/civil society partners and research institutions).

– In close consultation with the advocacy team, s/he will identify the key advocacy issues at the state and districts levels, and will provide necessary support to develop and implement effective advocacy strategies and activities.

 

Skills/ Qualities Required:

– At least 3 to 5 years of relevant project management experience in the health or development sectors, including at least 3 years’ middle management experience.

– At least 3 years working in HIV prevention programmes, including experience working with MSM and TG populations.

– Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of development issues and the HIV epidemic(s) in India, particularly in relation to MSM/ TG populations and other vulnerable populations.

– Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of donor environment, donor relations and donor Monitoring & Evaluation and reporting systems.

– Demonstrated experience of project proposal development and budget preparation.

– Excellent analytical, writing and verbal communication skills.

– Experience of working with multiple stakeholders in civil society and the government at different levels.

– Experience of providing technical support to and capacity building of organisations, especially those working at the community or grassroots level.

– Ability to work effectively in teams as well as independently.

– Ability and willingness to undertake extensive travel, primarily within India.

– Strong commitment to HIV/AIDS and sexual and reproductive health and rights.

– Fluency in English required. Fluency in Kannada/ Malayalam preferred.

 

 

Salary will be based on experience and skills.

 

Sangama believes in affirmative action and encourages people from marginalized backgrounds to apply for this post, including: sexual minorities and their family members, sex workers and their family members, people living with HIV and their family members, women, dalits, adivasis, religious minorities and persons with disability.

 

Interested candidates may apply by sending their complete CV (with contact details of self and 2 people who know their work as references) to sangamavikasa@gmail.com by 20th October, 2010.

 

In Solidarity

 

Arockya Selva

Administrator

Sangama

 

NEED YOUR SUPPORT- Praja Rajakiya Vedike’s appeal to all who believe in democracy and good governance

Be The Change

Support New Politics

Support Praja Rajakiya Vedike Candidates

BBMP Elections – A Challenge

An opportunity to be part of Clean, Efficient and Transparent Governance

Dear Friends,

Praja Rajakiya Vedike (PRV) is a political platform of highly dedicated social activists with decades of work for social change. We are people with a long history in political and people’s movements. We have been working in diverse sectors – urban/rural poor; rights of children, women, dalits, workers, religious minorities, adivasis, sexual minorities; human rights; development; ecology and environment; good governance and democratization. We have realized that real change is possible only through political power i.e. when people are central to decision making processes at city, state and country levels. Hence PRV is launched to challenge and change the corrupt political culture in Karnataka. We have resolved to participate in BBMP elections and have fielded two candidates, Ms. Veena from Okalipuram (Ward No. 96) and Mr. Derick Anil from Hebbal (Ward No. 21).

The coming BBMP (http://bbmp.gov.in) elections are taking place only due to the directives of the Courts. Political parties in power have done everything possible to maintain their illegitimate control over the BBMP while delaying and tampering with the election process. We believe that all existing political parties and their leaders lack values and principles, and we are determined to speak out against the status quo. The mainstream political parties indulge in worst forms of electoral malpractices to get votes – use money, use muscle power, coercion, threats and the list goes on. For them election is business where you invest some money to win elections and once elected they pocket huge sums of people’s money through every conceivable corrupt practices. They make money, many times over their ‘investment’. They make money, and people get bad roads, no street lights, no water, crumbling school buildings, poorly-run hospitals and no development at all.

Present model of development is completely against people. Crores of rupees are spent for beautification of pavements and roads while ignoring basic issues of people – housing, roads, water, electricity, education, employment, health, childcare, old age support, sanitation etc. We are committed to make sure that the people’s money is spent under people’s control, so that real needs of people are addressed. PRV will struggle to end this corrupt money-muscle-power politics. We will raise money from public to fight elections. We will not make our candidates spend money from their pockets. We are opposed to corruption of all kinds. A participatory democracy is need of the hour. Participation of every citizen not just casting your vote but also ridding the elections of even a possibility of any corrupt practice. We request you to contribute towards this either by your time and or financial support. We don’t buy votes. We need to reach each and every voter the above message, through literature, audio or audio visual medium.

People may ask, “How can poor politicians help us?” But our personal resources are not relevant. There are more than enough funds available for the BBMP through taxes. This money belongs to the people, and should be spent to ensure that basic, high-quality services are available to every resident of our city. It is high time that all those entrusted with the administration are made accountable and put a stop to all such corrupt practices that render the finances dry, without any of it reaching the needs and development of the city and it infrastructure.

Our Promise to You

We will struggle through all peaceful and lawful means to help you get basic amenities even in case our candidates do not get elected. We will work to strengthen ward committees (with its members directly elected, not nominated), and will make sure that they have the final say on what money is being spent in the ward, and how, and why. We will fight for a new culture of transparency, demanding that politicians justify publicly how money is being spent, at monthly meetings open to all.

According to media, main political parties are planning to spend at least Rs. 1 to 1.5 Crore per ward to get their candidate elected – even though the limit is Rs. 5 lakhs! We commit, not only to spending within the limit set by law, but spending every paisa with transparency and accountability. Our money will be spent on reaching out to each and every voter, one by one, to tell them about our candidates. For this, we will spend only the following, for each candidate:

  • Food, water and transportation for election workers (all volunteers)
  • Banners, pamphlets, hire four-wheelers, auto-rickshaws
  • Deposits for filing nominations, obtaining voters list, photocopying and other miscellaneous expenses

This means we commit to spending no more than legal limit. Each paisa will be spent through official channels, and all expenses will be publicly declared. The affidavit regarding any property owned by our candidates and their dependents will also be made fully public, in all its detail now, once every year after they are elected as corporators.

Our Candidates

Veena S. is a hijra, a transsexual woman, who has struggled for many years for the rights of women, Dalits, sexual minorities and workers. She is seeking to represent the people of Okalipuram Ward-96, where she has lived all of her life. “I am asking you not to sell your vote to those who are trying to buy you with money and liquor,” she says. “I promise you a clean politics, and whether I win or lose, I will work with integrity.” Having grown up in a slum herself, Veena understands the critical issues for those who live there with her, including the improvement of basic facilities, the development of women and children, and equality for all sections of people in society. Veena has enormous experience and knows how to address people’s problems.

Derick Anil, a long-time social activist working on environmental justice, beedi workers, landless laborers and many other issues, is contesting Hebbala Ward-21. “I believe in transparent governance, people’s right to information, electoral reforms,” he says. “I have realized the need for an alternative politics to make these things happen.” Whether or not he is elected, he is committed to working for the overall development of Bangalore City, with people’s participation, and making sure that every citizen has an equal share in the fruits of development. With respect to Hebbala Ward especially, he is determined to work for the fair distribution of water, waste management, and the basic needs of the poor.

Our candidates will represent people’s voices and concerns in the BBMP Council. Our candidates will not loot people’s money. Our candidates are committed to true democracy – governance of the people, by the people and for the people.

Your role

You have a critical role to play in the coming elections. You must elect those representatives who will work full-time – not just in their spare time – to respond to your concerns about local problems in your area. It is your responsibility to reject the parties who will try to buy your vote with money or liquor. You must believe that change is possible, and that honest, clean and committed representatives can make a difference. Please use your opportunity carefully.

We also ask for your support: Raise your voices in support of us. Campaign for us. Raise money. Even just one rupee. We will account for every paisa we receive.

Please send/deposit your donations for PRV in SB Account 0425101049093 at Canara Bank, Hebbal, Bellary Road, Bangalore – 560024 (A joint account operated by any 2 of our 3 active PRV members – Elavarthi Manohar, Derick Anil and Veena)

Please send/deposit your donations for Veena S. in SB Account 1174101020634 at Canara Bank, Magadi Road, Bangalore – 560023

Please send/deposit your donations for Derick Anil A. in SB Account 1202500100206401 at Karnataka Bank Ltd., RT Nagara, Bangalore-560032

Please send details of your donation (name, address, amount, deposit details) by email/post. Please send your cheques/DDs to us by post. Our contact details are mentioned below.

We look forward to your participation, support and solidarity

Elavarthi Manohar, Venkatesh B T, Yashodha P

Coordinators – Praja Rajakiya Vedike

Praja Rajakiya Vedike

43, 3rd Cross, Link Road, Malleswaram, Bangalore – 560003

Mobile: 9480974109 (E Manohar), 9845587502 (P Yashodha), 9448055465 (B T Venkatesh)

Email: prajarajakiya@gmail.com Web: http://openrun.net/prv/

City activists take plunge into politics with BBMP polls

http://bangalore.citizenmatters.in/articles/view/1851-praja-rajakiya-vedike-bbmp-elections-candidates

This council election will see Veena, a transsexual, and Anil, a former teacher, contesting from Okalipuram (Ward 196) and Hebbal (Ward 21) respectively. Both represent citizen group Praja Rajakiya Vedike.

By Vaishnavi Vittal
15 Mar 2010, Citizen Matters

In what is their first step towards mainstream politics in Bangalore, a group of city-based activists have come together for the BBMP council elections by floating two independent candidates. These activists have formed a group called the Praja Rajakiya Vedike, which will support the candidates in these elections.

Says Elavarthi Manohar, one of the members of this group, “We have all fought with regard to human rights, women’s rights, sexuality minority rights. We wanted to bring about a change. So we all got together”. Manohar is also the founder of Sangama, a sexuality minorities human rights organisation for individuals oppressed due to their sexual preference.

Over the last two years, these activists held meetings and consultations to understand the work and agendas of various political parties in the state. “Big parties are not transparent. Small parties work only during elections”, says Manohar. This was when they decided to form their own political party to create a conducive environment wherein every stakeholder would be equally respected irrespective of their caste, colour or creed. That’s how Praja Rajakiya Vedike came to be formed with about 20 to 30 core members and about 200 supporters. It is however not yet a political party.

For the upcoming elections, two candidates – Veena S, the first transsexual in south India to contest in an election and A Derick Anil, a former teacher and activist – will contest from Okalipuram (Ward 196) and Hebbal (Ward 21) respectively. The duo filed their nomination papers today.

South India’s first hijra contesting from Bangalore’s Okalipuram

Thirty-four year old Veena who works for Dalit rights, sexual minorities, sex workers, domestic workers and garment factory workers, says she decided to contest in the polls as she had always wanted to get into politics.

Veena, contesting bbmp elections

Veena, a transsexual, will contest from Ward 196. If elected, she says she will ensure that the voice of the people will be heard. Pic: Vaishnavi Vittal

Incidentally, Veena is also the first transsexual in South India who will be contesting in an election.

Hailing from a poor Dalit family, Veena was born and brought up in Okalipuram. She has studied upto 10th standard. From a young age, when she was a boy, she always knew she was different. “I didn’t like being a male”, she says. Tortured and teased by both friends and family, she eventualy got herself castrated and underwent a sex change operation. Initially her parents and four siblings treated her as an outcaste. Today, however, she is the sole bread-winner of the family.

“I’m proud to be a woman today”, she says proudly. Veena doesn’t speak English fluently but understands the language. She speaks Kannada, Tamil and Telugu.

Veena has previously worked with Sangama in the area of HIV-AIDS. She has also worked as Treasurer at Samara, a community organisation of sexual minorities and sexworkers. She recently resigned from this job as she now works full time for Praja Rajakiya Vedike. She is also the Vice President of the Karnataka Sex Workers Union, member of Dalit Mahila Horata Koota and is the President of an Anekal-based group called Sanchaya Nele that works with Dalit women.

For the BBMP elections, Veena says there are several problems in her ward that she is looking to start working on. She says the Corporation school in the area is being closed because of the Metro Rail construction. “Where will the children go to study? I want to fight this,” she says, adding that she also wants to build toilets, a playground, library and proper anganwadis.

Her anger and frustration towards the ruling government is clear when she says, “They want to make green city, silicon city and spend crores on painting the walls. Couldn’t they give this money to the poor?”

Having lived in a low income neighbourhood (commonly known as a slum) herself, Veena says she wants to empower the people of the ward so that their voices are heard.

Even as this is her first election, Veena is confident of winning this time. “Everyone has been supporting me – lawyers, media and others. This has given me the courage to fight. I won’t stop”.

Though Veena belongs to the sexuality minority community and is the first transsexual to contest in an election in Bangalore, her contesting in the election has more to do with her work as an activist than her sexuality. “I don’t think me being a hijra is going to affect votes or the elections”. But she also hopes that more people like her come out and contest in elections next time round. “Things are not like before. Today, when you tell people something, they listen. It gets them thinking.”

Former teacher and PT instructor contesting from Hebbal ward

Taking the plunge along with Veena, is her friend and colleague A Derick Anil, who is contesting from Hebbal.

This former English teacher and physical education instructer, has been actively involved in activism from a young age. Anil has been involved with issues related to consumers, environment, women, agriculture, tribals, Nethravati river diversion and beedi workers. He has previously worked with the Nagarika Seva trust, Society for People and Action for Development, and Centre for Research on Environment, Development Innovations, Technology & Trade (CREDITTe), mostly in the area of research. Anil has a masters degree in sociology.

Anil contesting elections

Anil, who is contesting from Hebbal, wants to make it a model ward. Pic: Vaishnavi Vittal

He now works independently and is working with regard to Right to Information (RTI), water and sanitation issues.

Ask him why he decided to contest in the elections now and the 37-year-old says, “In my entire activism life, I realised that the decision making body is the government. Many things are promised. Very little is done. Out of what little is done, few lobbies come and hijack that also. That made us think of alternatives”. Politics was one of them, for Anil and his activist friends.

As a child, Anil says he harboured the dream to become the Chief Minister one day! “But that was emotional. I was later averse to politics”. It was in 2007 when he started giving it a serious thought and eventually decided to dive in.

About his ward Hebbal, he says he would like concentrate on the issues of water, waste, sanitation and roads. After elections are over he plans to get information through RTI on all the developmental work that has been carried out in Hebbal in the last three years.

Anil wants to make Hebbal a model ward and envisages that a time should arrive when should not have to knock on the door of an elected representative. “Everything should be available to everyone. There should be equitable distribution”.

He feels that his experience as an activist and involvement in various issues makes him an ideal candidate to win.

“We will ask people for Re 1 and one vote”

Even as both Veena and Anil are using these elections to gain experience in electoral politics, they are working strategically to win. “Opponents are working with money, muscle and liquor. When we go on our door-to-door campaign, we will ask people for one rupee and one vote”, says Veena. They are using this strategy to also mobilise funds for their campaign. Veena and Anil together are looking to spend not more than Rs 4 lakhs on the elections. They are looking for funds from friends, relatives and supporters.

Praja Rajakiya Vedike will use banners and pamphlets to promote their candidates and go around in autos with loudspeakers.

Mainstream parties versus independent candidates

As Manohar explains, the Vedike’s main aim is to bring about a clean, efficient and transparent governance process. They are clear when they say that they are not just a social movement.

Siddharth Narrain, a lawyer with Alternative Law Forum or ALF, feels that this is an indication of the current scenario of politics. “It brings in a different perspective. Both these candidates are raising broader issues. No mainstream politician will focus on the harassment that is meted out to hijras”, he says. ALF is a Bangalore-based lawyers’ collective and has worked with regard to sexual minorities’ rights.

Narrain feels that independent candidates like Veena and Anil have better chances of winning in these local elections. “If they win, it’s a sign that people are fed up with mainstream political parties”.

But those in mainstream politics themselves do not think much of these independent candidates contesting in the elections. BJP MLA (Yeshwanthpur) Shobha Karandlaje feels that these candidates should instead support mainsteam parties like the BJP. “Will they win as independents? It’s not possible when we are working in full force”, she says.

Shobha adds that she herself has worked on issues concerning sexual minorities and will continue to do so.

Congress MLA (Mahalakshmi Layout) Narendra Babu feels that as long as you are committed to serving the public, you can contest. “It doesn’t matter who you are. You need to be service-minded”, he says, adding as an after-thought, “It’ll be better if they contest as a party candidate.”

Meanwhile, for Praja Rajakiya Vedike the BBMP election is the first step in their entry into politics. They are looking to eventually form a political party that respects diversity, equality, non-violence and individual freedom. For now, their eyes are set on winning the city council elections.

15 Mar 2010

Vaishnavi Vittal is a staff journalist with Citizen Matters.

Veena files her nomination papers for BBMP election

Veena, the transsexual woman candidate of Praja Rajakiya Vedike in BBMP elections filed her nomination papers yesterday (15 Mach 2010) at the Goods Shed Road office of the BBMP.

I am very happy that media was there in full strength. Lets hope that this support will put pressure on the government officials to act in a fair manner and stop discrimination against Veena. Most of you are aware that Veena has to wait for more than 8 hours to obtain her caste certificate, that too after more than 50 human rights activists protesting at the Tahasildar’s office and media covering the protests. It is shameful that a transsexual person has to spend 8 hours to time to get a certificate that others obtain in 1 hour. And the cerificate Veena wanted is about her ‘caste’ and not ‘gender’.

I hope she Veena can get through the next hurdle on 17th March 2010, when her poll application will be scrutinized by the poll officials.

Not just your vote, but also Re 1, please – Veena, a transsexual woman contesting Bangalore City Elections

Not just your vote, but also Re 1, please (The New Indian Express)

Y Maheswara Reddy

First Published : 13 Mar 2010 07:05:59 AM IST

BANGALORE: If all goes well, Veena S will be the first transgender in Karnataka to contest an election. Veena is all set to contest the election to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) from Okalipuram ward (SC Woman Reserved).

Veena wanted to file her nomination papers on Friday but could not do so due to the delay in getting the caste certificate from tahsildar. “He has tried to avoid giving the certificate to me on one or the other pretext. Finally, he gave it to me when activists of Praja Rajakeeya Vedike gathered at the tahsildar’s Office,’’ says Veena.

Veena says that nowadays people get into politics with a business- like approach. “Spending money in an election for them is like investing money.” She feels that upon getting elected, they try to maximise their return on investment through corruption.

“Their negligence towards welfare of people made me to contest the election,’’ she says.

As for overcoming her financial constraints, she says her familiarity in the area and her involvement with various social organisations will come to her rescue. “I will visit each and every house not only to seek votes but also to beg Re 1 from each voter,” she says. “I have to depend on donations since I have no money.” She says that win or loss in the election notwithstanding, she will work sincerely for the welfare of people in Okalipuram.

She says she will ensure that BBMP implements the schemes for the welfare of sexual minorities.

“BBMP officials did not utilise Rs 50 lakh allotted in the last budget for welfare of sexual minorities and sex workers. If I get elected, I want to utilise the funds given for them,” she added

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