Help Pours In For Kochi Transwoman After Local Shopkeepers Harass Her For Selling Biryani


This month, we saw struggling eateries like Delhi’s ‘Baba Ka Dhaba’, Agra’s ‘Kanji vada’ seller, and Kerala’s Parvathy Amma finding a new lease of hope through the support of good people on social media.

As per a report in the Deccan Chronicle, a transwoman named Sajana Shaji was harassed and attacked for venturing into a roadside biryani business on the outskirts of Kochi. She took to her Facebook account to share several live videos recounting her disturbing experiences, also alleging that the police didn’t take any action even after submitting a complaint.

Posted by Sajana Shaji on Monday, October 12, 2020

Sajana was previously working in the online food delivery sector before losing her job during the pandemic. Since she was a graduate who already held a license for food sales from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, she decided to start selling Biryani.

Support small business. Sajana Shaji

Posted by Neeraj Madhav on Wednesday, October 14, 2020

She explained, “We launched the biriyani 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.”

Posted by Sajana Shaji on Friday, October 9, 2020

“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.” she continued.

സമൂഹത്തിൽ നിന്നും വെറുക്കപ്പെട്ടവർ തന്നെയാണ് ട്രാൻസ്ജെൻഡേഴ്സ് എന്ന് വീണ്ടും സമൂഹം കാണിച്ചുതരുന്നു. നിങ്ങൾ എന്നും അധ്വാനിച്ച് ജീവിക്കേണ്ട. ശരീരം വിറ്റ് മാത്രം ജീവിച്ചാൽ മതിയെന്ന്. പറയാതെ പറയുന്നു പലപ്പോഴും അവർ. ചേർത്തു പിടിക്കാൻ സമൂഹത്തിന് ഒരിക്കലും കഴിയുന്നില്ല എന്ന് വാസ്തവമാണ്.. ജീവിതം വഴിമുട്ടി നിൽക്കുന്നു ഇനി ഞാൻ എന്ത് ചെയ്യണം അറിയില്ല ഇത് എല്ലാവരും ഒന്ന് ഷെയർ ചെയ്യണം

Posted by Sajana Shaji on Saturday, October 10, 2020

“We have been tolerating the insult for nearly a month. With no one to help, I decided to reveal our miserable situation through a Facebook live video that went viral. I am grateful to all those who promised to support us,” she added.

Posted by Sajana Shaji on Tuesday, October 13, 2020

From state health minister KK Shailaja to Mollywood actor Jayasurya, many famous personalities came forward to support Sajana. She enlisted the names saying, “Shailaja teacher, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala, Anoop Jacob MLA, A.M Arif MLA, and several top officials and people from various walks of life contacted us and promised support. Actor Jayasurya has promised financial support to open a restaurant.”

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Morning all…..❤️❤️❤️

A post shared by actor jayasurya (@actor_jayasurya) on

As part of the ‘We Care’ project of the Kerala Social Security Mission, Kerala’s health minister KK Shailaja promised Sajana immediate financial assistance and police protection to continue her biryani business. “Transgender persons have equal rights like other citizens. No one will be allowed to harass them,” the minister said. Other celebrities from the film industry like Fahadh Faasil, Vinay Forrt, Rima Kallingal, Nazriya Nazim also shared Sajana’s story in a display of their solidarity.

Talking about her future plans, Sajana added, “We are in search of a suitable space in the city and hope to resume the food business at the earliest. I will be able to provide job opportunities to more persons from our community.”

ഫുഡ് പാക്ക് ചെയ്യുന്നത് എങ്ങനെ എന്ന് ചോദിച്ചവർക്ക് വേണ്ടി

Posted by Sajana Shaji on Friday, September 11, 2020

Tripunithura police registered a case based on the complaint and have arrested a 48-year old man named Girish under the provisions of the Transgender Persons Protection of Rights Act for assault and use of abusive words against the complainant, reports The Hindu.

Raju P Nair, who is the district Congress Committee general secretary, stated, “The authorities including the police and municipal officials took a discriminatory attitude towards Sajana’s case. As a token of support to her, the Youth Congress activists will conduct a biriyani fest on October 18 in which 2000 packets of biryani prepared by Sajana’s team will be sold.”

It is truly heartwarming to see people sticking together and helping small businesses thrive during this pandemic. Let this be a reminder that humanity still exists!

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