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Ramdas Athawale lands in soup after commenting that transgenders should not wear sarees

Photo:PTI

CHHATTISGARH: Despite batting strongly for the Transgender Bill, Union Minister Ramdas Athwale has landed in a soup for a particular comment that has not gone down well with the community.

Speaking at an event, Athawale advised transgenders to not wear sarees.

“They are not men or women. Hence, they shouldn’t wear sarees,” he said, however, immediately clarifying that he was just advising them and that they have the freedom to wear whatever they want. “They can wear pant and shirt. They should be wearing men’s dress,”  he said.

Speaking to ANI, Vidya Rajput of the Third Gender Welfare Board, Chhattisgarh, said that nobody can question the rights of the transgender community.

She said, “I don’t understand that how can a person in his position question my rights. The constitution gives me the choice to wear or not wear a saree. It is my personal choice.”

She stressed that a person of Athawale’s stature, especially the ones with a following, shouldn’t comment on the rights of the minority, adding that such comments have affected the lives of the transgenders for a long time

“He should have thought it through before saying anything like this in public,” she added.

Ironically, Athawale had earlier assured that the Centre would make efforts to soon pass the Transgender Bill, which seeks to empower the community by providing them a separate identity.

He was speaking at a national workshop on ‘Developing Modules for Sensitising Transgender People and Stakeholders’, organised at the National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj.

ANI