Sex workers protesting at Kolkata's Sonagachhi (Photo/ANI)
Sex workers protesting at Kolkata's Sonagachhi (Photo/ANI)

West Bengal Polls: Sex workers in Kolkata's Sonagachhi seek voting rights

ANI | Updated: Mar 20, 2021 19:24 IST

By Syeda Shabana Parveen
Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], March 20 (ANI): The breeze of poll fever in West Bengal has brought fresh hope of voting rights and dignified life for the sex workers in the infamous lanes of Kolkata's Sonagachhi, Asia's largest red-light area.
The sex workers in Sonagachhi lack voter cards and other basic documents.
"Despite leaving in Kolkata for several years, we have been deprived of voting rights and therefore no voter cards have thus been issued to us. We cannot cast our votes," Putul Singh, Durbar Community General Secretary told ANI.
After struggling to get the voter ID cards, Putul Singh said, "Some of us had been issued voter ID cards after we met the Election Commission and the State Government. But, why is there discriminations?"

"We have three demands. First, voting rights for all sex workers. Secondly, equal respect as other citizens for the sex workers and lastly, to get rid of hooligans who tortures in the name of donations." added Singh.
She said the community will vote only for those who will fulfil their three basic demands.
"In Sonagachhi, many of us do not have any documents. So we are deprived of basic facilities and voting rights as well," Kalavati Devi, another sex worker told ANI.
The sex workers in the infamous area of Kolkata have been holding a demonstration in support of their demand for voting rights, employment opportunities and the right to a dignified life.
Elections to the 294-member state Assembly will be held in eight phases starting from March 27 with the final round of voting taking place on April 29. The counting of votes will take place on May 2. (ANI)