The transgender community of Assam is facing a two-fold crisis due to the NRC. Many of them have been unable to produce the required documents and thus have either been disowned by their families or even in cases where their names appear in the NRC, more often than not they are included in the gender that they no longer identify with. Most of the transgender persons of Assam find themselves in conditions of severe poverty and deprivation.
The National Citizens Register(NRC) has proven to be double edged sword for them. While a large number of transgender persons have been excluded from the list due to their inability to procure documents and this is not surprising because most of them have been disowned by their families, another group of transgender persons find themselves included in a gender category that they no longer associate with in the NRC.
They await the Supreme Court’s decision on the matter because any legal and financial aid to fight against their exclusion from the NRC by the state government looks like a very far fetched dream to them.
The only hope now is the decision that will come from the Supreme Court, if it turns out to be in their favour, it may certainly provide them with some assistance in fighting against their exclusion from the NRC.
This much anticipated intervention by the Supreme Court is associated with an Intervention Application(IA) filed in 2018 at the apex court too highlight the exclusion of the transgender community from the Assam NRC. Today the case is pending before the Supreme Court.
The All Assam Transgender Association(AATA)has said that exclusion from the NRC has proven to be a double edged sword for the transgender community in Assam as this paves way for heightened marginalisation, exploitation and the continuation of a deprived status.
This has meant that many transgender persons living in Assam have begun to fear the public sphere and have refused to roam about freely in buses, parks, streets, markets and the trains for the fear of being caught by the authorities.
The places where the members of the community gathered earlier such as underground pathways, highways, bus stops, railway coaches are no longer accessible to them and this has contributed towards the drastic decline in their livelihood options too. Today the transgender community in Assam fears for its life, for having become even more vulnerable to abuse in the absence of any state support.
The decision of the Supreme Court seems like the only ray of hope available to them in these terribly dark moments.
What makes them helpless is the fact that they neither have the resources nor the knowledge to get the due papers made or the financial aid to seek for legal advice.
The transgender community of Assam feels betrayed and let down by the exclusion practiced by the state against them.
They also feel disillusioned because despite the National Legal Services Authority(NALSA)judgement which recognised the fundamental and civil rights of the transgender community in 2014, the plight of the community as far as the NRC is concerned continues to remain pathological.