LAHORE – With dazzling make-up and stylish dresses, eunuchs roam across the provincial capital – from markets to parking and roads to residences. The more the society debates on their identity, the faster the eunuchs take to the streets for their rights.
However, police officials found many eunuchs’ involved in crimes, including prostitution, mugging, and drug pushing, but the lawmen are ‘unable’ to rein in. At daytime, eunuchs are seen begging at traffic signals while they opt for baiting men into road robberies at night. “If a eunuch commits a crime, the person should be punished as per law. But, why don’t the authorities take action when we are teased and harassed in public. Why men hoot at us when we pass by,” questioned Aashi Butt, President She-Male Foundation, a non-profit organisation registered in Lahore.
Talking to TheNation, the eunuch activist further alleged that they are often robbed by police when they return to home from ‘work.’ The police extract money from eunuchs with force, Aashi Butt added.
According to Eunuchs, they play hide and seek with the police as cops frequently intercept, interrogate, and irritate them without any reason.
A 28-year-old eunuch was killed when the police raided at a dance party at Multan Road on November 25, 2010. The Iqbal Town police had arrested 52 people on the charges of drinking, aerial firing, and hooliganism at the dance party arranged in Baari Film Studio. Relatives of the deceased eunuch had alleged that Aamir was shot dead by police when he tried to escape. But police investigators stated in their report that the eunuch jumped out of the vehicle, fell down on the road, and succumbed to head injuries.
According to the She-Male Foundation’s President, some eunuchs have to serve sex like male and female sex-workers. “Good and bad guys exit side-by-side. But it does not mean that the entire community should be treated in similar way,” suggested Aashi Butt, who resides in the red-light neighborhood for the last several years. “We need employment, technical education, independent identity, and security as well. The society must accept us,” he demanded.
Canal Road, Multan Road, Lower Mall, Walled City, Jail Road, Main Boulevard Iqbal Town, and Ferozepur Road are their favourite spots to attract ‘customers’ or to trap victims. They are also seen in great numbers begging in areas including Liberty Market, Moon Market, Lorry Adda, Railways Station, and pubic parks as well. The eunuchs also visit door to door in the posh localities to beg.
A couple of months ago, two policemen were arrested for robbing citizens in cooperation with eunuchs who used to seduce victims into the trap in the city. Reportedly, the gang comprising police and eunuchs used to rob citizens at gun point in the posh Gulberg area.
Police said that the eunuchs used to stand on roadsides in different posh areas and used to portray themselves as prostitutes. As soon as any motorist stopped, the accused used to emerge and rob the citizens at gun point.
A university teacher on the condition of anonymity shared a similar experience with this reporter, saying that he had been trapped and robbed on the Canal Road by a eunuch.
On one Saturday night, he said, as he had stopped the car at the Canal Road near Jinnah hospital underpass, a person entered into it. “A few minutes later, I realized that the person was in fact a eunuch rather than a prostitute. I asked him to leave the car but he took out a knife, snatched my purse, and fled away,” the man said, who never reported the robbery to the police fearing insult.
“If we commit even a minor crime like drinking and dancing, we are locked-up, tortured and sent to the prison. But when we appear as the victims of police brutality or rogue men’s torture, there is no one to protect us or provide us justice,” Saima Pervaiz, a 30-year-old eunuch, who ‘works’ in Iqbal Town and runs a dance academy.
On September 13, the Gujranwala police reported a murder case on the complaint of Imran, brother of eunuchs’ Guru and Ramazan. The complainant told the police that the Guru was shot dead by rogue men on refusing to return the payment received for a dance performance. The killers had clashed with Ramazan after the dance performance by the latter at their Dera in Sialkoti Gate area. The deceased had been running a dance academy called Shula Bai Academy.