Kerala: 35-Year-Old Trans Woman Found Dead; Transgender Community Allege Foul Play
Shalu, a resident of Kannur who had reached Kozhikode, Kerala, on March 29, was found dead at UK Sankunni Road near KSRTC bus stand on April 1. The transgender community has expressed a doubt of foul play in her death and are worried about the safety of all of its members. They have even staged a protest asking a detailed probe into the matter.
Death under mysterious circumstances
The death of a 35-year-old trans woman under mysterious circumstances at Kozhikode in Kerala has instilled a wave of shock and fear among the transgender community. “Any of us can meet our fate the same way as Shalu did,” says Arundhati, one of the members of the community.
The Nadakkavu police have registered a case under section 174 of the CrPC (Police to enquire or report on suicide, homicide, or death under suspicious circumstances).
Sisily George, a transgender activist and founder of Punarjani Cultural Society, says that Shalu had earlier complained to her about some people harassing her. She further said that police have retrieved CCTV footage of two men.
Arundhati, another member of the transgender community told The News Minute that Shalu talked to her about an incident where she was abused and hit, but before they could make an official complaint, she died.
Transgender community performed last rites after family refused
Shalu was a native of Kannur. She left her family five years ago after telling them about her gender. After that Arundhati, a trans woman from Mandya, was the one who supported while Shalu was in Mysuru for a surgery. Shalu left for Kerala after the surgery hoping that she would be accepted there, her native state. A heartbroken Arundhati feels disheartened on the way she is treated, as reported by The News Minute.
After her death, while Shalu’s family did receive her body, they refused to take her body back to their native. However, Shalu’s transgender family stepped up and conducted a dignified funeral for her in Kozhikode, where more than 100 people came to pay homage to her.
However, taking note of the rising crimes against transgenders, Sheeba Mumthaz, District Social Justice Officer, Kozhikode says that they will conduct a meeting with the transgender community and list out the problems they face so that they can put a strong check on crimes against them with the help of the police department.
The Logical Indian Take
Transgenders might have been granted legal status in India since 2014 (as the third gender), but the discrimination they face and the struggle they endure continues till date. Many a time, they are even denied livelihood resources and housing facilities. Most of the community members are forced into sex work. People from the transgender community routinely face sexual exploitation, physical and verbal abuse.
Although many police officers are helpful towards them, society still hasn’t accepted them as equal individuals. According to Justice News, a 2018 transgender rights bill was also passed in the Lower House of Parliament last month, but the transgender community called on politicians to stop it, saying that the bill denies the right to self-identity.
Shalu’s death yet again flashes the grim reality of the plight of the transgender community. It is very important that the authorities ensure their safety and well being.