In an exemplary step, the Manipur government has opened first-of-its-kind dedicated quarantine centres for transgender persons who returned to the state recently, Manipur's social welfare department officials said on Thursday, May 21.
Two such facilities have been set up in Imphal West and Imphal East. The centre is located at the Government Blind School, Takyelpat in Imphal West district and has the capacity to accommodate 24 persons. While this centre will accommodate the trans community coming from 'green zones,' a separate wing at the institutional quarantine centre at Maria Montessori School, Koirengei in Imphal East district, will accommodate those coming from the 'red zones.'
"Transgender Quarantine Centre opened at Government Ideal Blind School, Takyelpat is now ready to receive stranded Transgenders coming from other states," Chief Minister N Biren Singh said in a tweet.
According to Ngangom Uttam, Director, Social Welfare Department Manipur, the government came up with separate quarantine centres for the transgender community to ensure them emotional security during the COVID-19 crisis.
"We have come across some instances where transgenders, who have returned to the state recently, have faced inconvenience when accommodated in quarantine centres together either with male and female occupants," the director said in a statement.
The health department then decided to take action upon requests by the community.
Praising the government's move, Shanta Khurai, secretary All Manipur Nupi Maanbi Association (AMANA), a prominent association fighting for trans community rights in Manipur, told The Indian Express, "The remarkable bit is that Manipur is the first state to do this in the entire region of Northeast India. AMANA would like to express our warm gratitude towards the state for having listened to the needs of the trans community and taken immediate positive action."
"When we talk about COVID-19 pandemic, we generally focus on the shortage of food, jobs etc. But we have failed to address the most important thing which is mental health. The trans community is already a vulnerable lot when it comes to mental health - and now they have to deal with COVID-19 too," Khurai added.
Khurai further said that the two centres will facilitate mental health counselling for the inmates. Wifi facilities will also be available at the centre.Also Read: Tripura Govt To Give Free Text Books To 14,000 Bengali Medium Students Amid Lockdown!