Sikhs joins movement to protect rights of transgender community in Pak’s KPK province

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Amritsar: The Khalsa Peace and Justice Foundation of Pakistan has extended a helping hand towards marginalized transgender community of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province and has begun a movement for protection of their rights.

"Khwaja Siras (as transgender people are known in Pakistan) are cornered in our society due to coercive mindset. They are rejected and considered a disgrace for the society. In the past two years, over 50 of them have been killed in different incidents so we decided to begin a movement to help them enjoy equal rights in the society," said foundation's president Radesh Singh Tony while talking to TOI over phone from Peshawar on Wednesday. He said the foundation was part of the first day-long safari train tour organized for the transgender people from Peshawar to Attock Khurd by Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (TCKP) on Tuesday.

When asked what prompted him to start the foundation, Radesh said it came about after the death of Alisha, a transgender, in 2016. "Alisha was shot more than six times but was not admitted to hospital as doctors and staff refused to treat her, being a transgender. She spent three days and nights outside hospital before dying. The incident moved me so much that I decided to launch a movement for protection of the transgender rights in KPK," he said.

Radesh said the fun-filled recreational tour for the transgender people had several activities, including kite flying, archery, uphill race, tug of war and camel ride. "These people constantly live under a threat of being persecuted and the tour helped was a way to reassure them that the majority of civil society was with them," he said.

The foundation president informed that the TCKP was mulling to impart training to become tour guides to transgender. The transgender community was told that the Sikh gurus considered all humans as one and all have equal rights, he said, adding that an invitation was extended to them to visit a gurdwara. Radesh said the foundation was working to get government support for the community so that they could start some businesses or find jobs and live a dignified life. Presently, he said, there was no job opportunity or financial security for them and they were being exploited, physically and psychologically.



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