Sunday, 6 December, 2020

LGBTIQ community raises voice against discrimination, harassment and violence


By Nayak Paudel
Morang, Nov. 22: On November 17, social media was awash with the people outraged by a video which had gone viral. The video in question showed Nikisha Shrestha, a transwoman, being harassed by two boys on a scooter while walking along the road in Ward No. 1 of Bhaktapur Municipality.
The ones riding the scooter can be seen chasing Shrestha, a popular Tik Tok and social media content creator, across different places while hurling unsavoury and derogatory words at her. Shortly after the video was uploaded on the internet, it went viral.
Social Media was quick to seek justice for Nikisha, with the #justiceforNikisha trending across different online platforms. Many posts opposed the perpetrators behind the video and demanded strict action against them. Following the massive outcry, Nepal Police began the investigation and arrested three individuals on Thursday.
According to the Metropolitan Police Range, Bhaktapur, Saphil Khatri, a 19-year-old from Bhaktapur, alongside two unnamed individuals, one of them said to be 16 and the other 17, were taken under custody. While Khatri was riding the scooter, the supposed 16-year-old was recording the video, which was later uploaded through the social media of the 17-year-old.
"Following increasing concerns across social media, we first came in contact with the victim. She lodged a complaint on accusations related to indecent behaviour and then we arrested the trio," said Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Dipak Giri, spokesperson for Metropolitan Police Range, Bhaktapur.
The authorities are also contacting local levels to confirm the culprits' age, two of whom have claimed to be minors.
"We are yet to ascertain the age of the two but until then they will be investigated under indecent behaviour. The legal process has begun," said DSP Giri.
While the arrest was swift, the LGBTIQ community claim that there is a lot more to be done to prevent such violence and harassment against them. While the community hailed the all-round response opposing the activity against Nikisha Shrestha, they argued that such insensitive behaviours are far more apparent.
"Nikisha faced harassment across social media from many in the past as well. People are now opposing the recent one citing the harassment in the video has crossed the red line. Does harassment has a limit?" questioned AP, a gay individual studying Masters at Tribhuvan University, who wished to be identified only by his initials.
"I have gone through much trouble over the years as I was neglected by many, including my family and friends, following my gender preference. Every LGBTIQ goes through what Nikisha recently endured, almost on a daily basis," said AP.
As per the LGBTIQ community, concerned authorities have a major role in helping mitigate such misconceptions against people from the LGBTIQ community.
"In Nikisha's case, two are said to be less than 18 years. With children harassing others in such a way, we sure have many drawbacks in bringing up our new generations. People from LGBTIQ community are still neglected, most marginalized, least visible but highly discriminated," said Manisha Dhakal, executive director at Blue Diamond Society, an LGBTIQ rights organisation in Nepal.
The Blue Diamond Society also organised a silent protest at Basantapur Durbar Square on Friday to mark the Transgender Day of Remembrance, where they remembered the members of their community who faced violence and harassment. They also demanded action against the ones harassing Nikisha Shrestha.
"Despite the rights bestowed upon the LGBTIQ in the constitution, violence and harassment continue to be the part and parcel of our daily lives," deplored Dhakal. "We hope we are acknowledged by the people as well and be treated like one among themselves." 

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