Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja on Wednesday, October 14, assured of police security and necessary assistance to a transgender woman who has been harassed for selling biryani.
The minister took to her Facebook page and announced that the government will give emergency financial aid to the trans woman under the Kerala Social Social Security mission's project 'We care' and would look into the matter, initiate actions accordingly.
Sajana Shaji, a transwoman, started her own biryani business after being severely hit by the coronavirus crisis and had also managed to offer employment to reportedly four other trans women and a trans man who had lost their jobs due to COVID-19.
Amid the financial constraints, she took the brave decision to start her own venture and started selling biryani on the roadside in the outskirts of Kochi, Kerala.
For over a month, however, Shaji and her employees had been facing harassment from the local shopkeepers and vendors.
Shaji, who had taken loans from several meat and grocery sellers to set up her shop, took to Facebook and shared a video where she can be seen breaking down while trying to recount the incidents.
In the video, Shaji said that she was harassed by a man called Girishh who sells fish snacks opposite her stall. To drive away the potential customers, the man had been spreading rumours about the quality of her biryani which resulted in massive losses for the biryani shop.
"We launched the biryani sale three months back and was doing good business. The food vending was the only means of living for five of us, four trans women and one trans man. But, issues started one month ago when a group of men, who are engaged in street vending near our mobile cart, started badmouthing on us and on our food. They regularly insulted us and propagated that our food products are of substandard quality. This adversely impacted our business and we could not even sell 50 food packets and failed to pay the groceries bill," Sajana told Deccan Chronicle.
"People keep asking us to work and live a decent life, instead of begging on trains and roaming the streets at night. But if the society does not allow us to work respectfully, then what are we supposed to do," she had said in her video.