Manipur Elections 2017: Why is the transgender community of the state backing Irom Sharmila

Although the transgenders in Manipur aren't ostracized, this community has an altogether different story of acceptance and indignity in the state

It seems like the election fever is in its peak in Manipur. Every local of the capital city Imphal is sighting political convergence. As Manipur is getting ready to cast their votes in next two days, there is a small group or community of people who feel left out and unheard: The Nupi Maanvi.

The Nupi Maanvi in Manipur commonly known as the transgender community of the state said that they will vote for Irom Sharmila’s PRJA party as the former governments did not fulfill any promises made by them.

“ I like the ideology of PRJA, she has dedicated her life fighting for the sate. I think she can bring change,” Santa Khurai, Secretary of All Manipuri Nupi Maanvi Association (AMANA) said while speaking to InUth.

The transgender community is a vibrant yet secluded community in the state. Although they aren’t ostracized as Hijra or Kinnar like they are in the other states of Indian sub-continent, this community has an altogether different story of acceptance and indignity in the state.

Around 6 per cent of the total Manipuri population consists of LGBT. Until last few decades, these people actively participated in the socio-political issues of Manipur but the inactiveness and failure of Supreme courts National Legal Service Authority (NALSA)  judgment left their dreams shattered.

NALSA has been constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to provide free Legal Services to the weaker sections of the society. In 1987, the Legal Services Authorities Act was enacted by the Parliament, which came into force on November 9, 1995, to establish a nationwide uniform network for providing free and competent legal services to the weaker sections of the society.

“If Sharmila comes to power she will do some excellent work, and we are also in contact with her,” says Bonita, project coordinator of AMANA.

Just like Santa and Bonita, a lot of trans people seem happy with Sharmila’s party and have also requested PRJA to keep them in mind while preparing their manifesto.

But whether their dreams will come true this time remains to be seen only after the election results are out. Manipur will go for two-phased elections on March 4 and March 8.