The initiative was taken by Senior Inspector Bhanupratap Barge of Faraskhana police station to bridge the gap between the police and the CSWs. The celebrations were held at Budhwar Peth on Saturday and 3,500 CSWs were part of it.
“I’m very happy that I will be celebrating Diwali this year and that too in a traditional manner. The initiative taken by the police is highly commendable because sex workers are generally scared of the police and are afraid of celebrating the festival like others,” said Santi, a transgender and former sex worker who now is part of HIV awareness drive in the area.
Another sex worker, Pooja, said, “I come from Satara where Diwali means drawing rangoli, making sweets at home and celebrating with your family. But after coming here I don’t remember the last time I celebrated Diwali in a grand way. I’m happy that this year we celebrated the festival properly and that too with the police. They even offered us faral (Diwali delicacies).”
Commenting on his initiative, Barge said, “This is an attempt to bridge the gap between the police and the CSWs. Most of the time these girls, boys and transgenders are scared to approach the police. Though such events, I want them to start trusting us. This will help us curb the flesh trade to a larger extent. I’m sure that this interaction will be helpful to us in the long run” Activists Prakash Yadav and Bindumadhav Khire, who fight for the rights of transgenders, applauded the initiative and said such events should be organised on a regular basis.