Monty Paul, a private job holder, was hanging out with her boyfriend on the bank of Dhanmondi Lake one fine evening last month. Suddenly, three hijras appeared before them clapping hands in a scary manner and sought Tk 200 from them.
Nervous, Monty quickly offered them Tk 50 which only made the trio furious and they started hurling abuses at them.
“Later, I gave the hijras Tk 100 but they again refused to accept it. Even, one of them said if you don’t pay us Tk 200 we would curse you so that you can’t get married and be happy. Finally, we gave them Tk 200 to get rid of the nuisance,” Monty said narrating her horrific experience.
Abdul Mukith, a journalist, was welcoming guests who came to his Merul Badda residence three months back as he arranged a programme to name her newborn girl.
The joyous mood of the house changed right away as a group of hijras stormed into it seeking Tk 5,000, marking the birth of his baby girl.
At one stage, the hijras tried to forcefully take the baby in their laps to perform a dance. As the relatives shut the door of the room where the child was sleeping, the rowdy hijras started knocking on it and shouting, creating a complete nuisance.
Out of fear and embarrassment, Mukith said, he gave the hijras Tk 4,000 to get relief of the nuisance.
The experience of Moinuddin Khokan, a government employee, was more disgusting and horrifying.
Like other days, Moin said, he was going to his office at the Secretariat by a rickshaw barely two months back. “I got stuck in a traffic jam at Kakrail crossing and a hijra came forward seeking money from me. As I refused to pay, the angry hijra suddenly touched my sensitive organ and kept pressing my testicles hard. I had to give Tk 20 to save myself.”
These are only a few of the incidents of growing nuisance by hijras the city dwellers experience every day in the capital.
According to a recent research conducted by the Planning Division’s Social Science Research Council under the Planning Ministry, 90 percent hijras are involved in collecting money from people while 63 in prostitution for living as 97 percent of them don not get any cooperation from their families.
The extortion business of hijras, recognised as the 'third gender' in 2013, has reached the extreme level in the capital as there is no visible preventive step by law enforcers, said city dwellers.
Talking to newsman, a number of city dwellers like Monty, Mukith and Moin said hijras collected money from them forcefully showing their aggressive attitude and hurling abuses when refused to pay them money as per their demand.
Hijras used to roam at different key crossings of the city and collect money from commuters targeting private cars, auto-rickshaws and rickshaw passengers, and even getting into buses and trains.
Besides, they go to the houses where newborn babies are born or on the occasion of any marriage ceremony and collect huge money from people creating nuisance with their fear-provoking acts.
The hijras also collect money from shops and business establishments every week.
Visiting city's Kakrail, Gulshan, Motijheel, Mohalkhai, Gulshan, Banani, Farmgate, Dhanmondi, Agargaon, Mirpur, Bijoy Sarani and Mohammadpur areas, it was found that the hijras were collecting money from the commuters.
Females who ride rickshaws, CNGs or buses without any male accompanying them are their prime target to extort money.
As the hijra nuisance has turned unbearable, two female MPs raised the issue in Parliament on June 5, seeking a remedy.
Quazi Rosy MP (reserved seat-41) narrated her bad experience saying some hijras threatened to shoot her as she refused to pay them money when they stormed into her Dhanmondi residence.
Later, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed told Parliament that the government will take effective steps to prevent hijras from creating trouble in public places and houses to realise money by force.
Social Welfare Minister Rashed Khan Menon said the number of hijra is 11,039 in the country according to statistics of social service department.
He said the government is providing hijras with employment training on various trades, including haircutting, beautification, driving, farming, handicrafts and security guard and Ansar and VDP.
On completion of the training, each hijra is provided with Tk 10,000 as financial support for their rehabilitation.
Contacted, Sachetan Samajseba Hijra Sangha President Ivan Ahmed Katha said hijras collect money from people as they have no other way to earn their bread and butter. “It’s our traditional profession as we don’t get job.”
Pinky Shikdar, chief of Badhan Hijra Sangha, said though hijras were recognised as the third gender nearly five years back, they are still deprived of basic rights, forcing them to collect money from people to survive.