A spate of sexual assaults in girls and women’s care homes of late, has rocked the Bihar state government. Hence, it announced plans to employ transgenders as security guards.
An audit report of more than 100 safe houses in the state in eastern India revealed shocking news. It revealed that girls were being systematically abused by staff at a centre in the city of Muzaffarpur.
On suspicion of raping a girl at a care home, police detained a security guard, earlier this month. He worked there, in Chapra, north of Bihar’s capital Patna.
The assaults have resulted in protests across the state about the safety and conditions inside their homes. Women’s groups like All India Progressive Women’s Association and Bihar Women’s Network led the protests.
Atul Prasad, head of Bihar’s social welfare department said, “The state would consider employing trans people and eunuchs in light of the sexual assaults.
“While on the one hand, the eunuchs will get employment, on the other hand their deployment will strengthen security at short stay homes for girls,” he explained.
Anita Hijra, a trans person, praised the state government’s decision.
“Apart from providing us employment, the new job will also give us social recognition. This could be a small initiative but will bring huge change in the society in the long run. We are very happy.”
Bihar reported some 428 rapes between January and April this year, according to a state report. In the past five years Bihar reported about 1,100 rapes annually.
Bihar previously turned to hijras/eunuchs for help, having hired eunuchs and trans people to collect taxes in Patna in 2006.
India’s Supreme Court is currently in the process of hearing a landmark case to legalise gay sex, by scrapping Section 377 of an 1861 law – introduced under British colonial rule – that bans sexual activity “against the order of nature,” including with another man or woman.