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PESHAWAR: Some members of transgender community from Nowshera have accused local police of subjecting them to violence, sexual harassment and also ordering them to leave the district.

Speaking at a news conference at the Peshawar Press Club on Friday, Trans Action Alliance, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Vice-President Paro said that Nowshera cantonment police station SHO Khalid had called seven members of the community to the police station on July 14,2016, kept them in habeas corpus for 10 hours and later subjected them to physical violence.

Flanked by Blue Veins representative Qamar Naseem, and some other civil society activists, Paro alleged that the SHO first asked them to dance and later harassed them sexually and those who offered some resistance were beaten up. “We are not spreading vulgarity but earning livelihood by performing in wedding ceremonies,” Paro said and demanded of government to provide them protection and take action against the police official.

Those allegedly faced violence, including Chhoti, Diya, Sonia, Nomi, Jigri, Shehzadi and Wafa, were also present on the occasion.

On the occasion Diya said the police officer was forcing them to leave Nowshera, adding they had no other place to take shelter in and the police action against them was sheer violation of human rights.

She said people happily called them to different ceremonies but at the end of functions maltreated them.

The government, she said should arrest those transgender individuals who were involved in spreading vulgarity, but should provide protection to those who earned livelihood by performing at wedding functions.

Blue Veins representative Qamar Naseem said the transgender community was also part of the society and had equal rights like other civilians, but unfortunately they were considered third rate citizens.

“The transgender community members are forced by police officials of Nowshera to leave the district on pretext of spreading vulgarity but no FIR was registered against them,” he said and added but police could not arrest any criminal coming to the transgender peoples’ apartments.

Mr Naseem asked the provincial government to protect transgender individuals from abuse and violence and also investigate allegations against the police official.

When contacted, the concerned SHO told Dawn that he rejected the allegations levelled against him. He said local religious clerics and public were complaining against them for spreading vulgarity. “I called them to the police station just to ask them to avoid calling people to their residences and never forced them to leave Nowshera,” the SHO said.

Meanwhile, Director Human Rights Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Noor Zaman Khan Khattak has initiated an inquiry into the incident under section 5 (c ) of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Promotion , Protection and Enforcement of Human Rights Act, 2014, on the complaint of Mr Riaz (Farzana), president of Trans Action KP (Fata).

Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2016