Four transgender people in Agartala filed a complaint against the Tripura police for being forced to 'strip' to prove their identity. Along with that, they were asked to sign an undertaking stating that they would never 'cross-dress' again and would be arrested if they did.
The group was returning home on January 8 after a party in the state capital when A person posing as a local reporter and police officials cornered them and harassed them for their appearance. They also claim that the police has violated rights given under Section 377 and the Right to Privacy.
'Embarrassing and Hurtful'
Mohini is a professional make-up artist who had attended a DJ party that fateful night with her friends, Sangam, Raj and Tapas. Narrating the incident to The Indian Express, Mohini recalls, "On our way back home around 10:40 pm, four of us were stopped by a person who claimed to be a reporter and a few police officials. They ridiculed our dress code and mentally harassed us by taunting and bullying us."
Later, they were taken to the West Agartala police station, where the female officers forced them to undress, with some male members present there. Not only that, they were denied food and water and were made to sit on the floor. The complaint adds, "The most embarrassing and hurtful incident was that the officials kept our wigs and inner garments at the West Agartala Police Station.
Mental and Emotional Harm
Videos of the brutal act went viral on all social media platforms. Netizens were enraged by it and demanded strict action against the police personnel. Several members of the transgender community gathered at the Agartala Press Club, asking for 'proper justice'.
"Whatever happened to the victims has caused harm to the whole community mentally and emotionally. People have to learn to be more inclusive of non-binary identities of human beings," said LGBTQIA+ activist Sneha Gupta Roy. Advocate Nilanjana Roy is fighting the case for the aggrieved group. She states how the incident is the 'gross denial of human rights. "Cross-dressing can't be considered a crime in any lawsuit. It's a matter of struggle for existence and identity. We will fight all legal battles to get justice," Roy said.