While the four trans women have received permission to make the trek, they have also filed a complaint against the police officers who behaved badly with them on Sunday.

Initially blocked 4 trans women granted police protection to visit Sabarimala
news Sabarimala Monday, December 17, 2018 - 18:56

The group of four transwomen, Anannyah, Thripthi, Avanthika and Ranjumol, who were turned away from Sabarimala by Erumely police on Sunday morning, have now been granted permission and police protection to make the trek to the Sabarimala hill shrine. They received permission to do so on Monday morning, and will make the trek on Tuesday morning.

Anannyah told TNM, “Manoj Abraham IG has assured us that we will be given police protection in order to conduct darshan at Sabarimala. There is no restriction on transwomen going to Sabarimala to conduct darshan according to both laws and traditions. It is on this basis that they have said that they can take us to Sabarimala with no issues.”

She continued, “This morning we met Hemachandran IPS who is responsible for the affairs at Sabarimala. He and Retired Justices S Sirijagan and PR Raman [who have been appointed by the Kerala High Court to work as a monitoring committee at Sabarimala] looked into the matter, and found that there were no issues with us transwomen visiting Sabarimala. We also met Kottayam SP Harishankar IPS and submitted a request before him, after which we went to meet Manoj Abraham and Anilkanth IPS. They told us coolly that there are no restrictions on us transwomen visiting Sabarimala, and that we would be given help and police protection to make our pilgrimage there whenever we wanted to go. So we have decided to go with police protection on Tuesday morning.”

When asked if the group still had any complaints about the police’s behaviour towards them, Anannyah said they had filed a complaint against the treatment meted out to them at Erumely station on Sunday morning. “We had visited the Erumely police station on Sunday when we first attempted to go. We were called there for no reason, we could have actually gone straight to Nilakkal, but they called us repeatedly on the phone and mentally tortured us, saying we needed to go to Erumely station. After their continuous phone calls, we went there. To us four transwomen, they said we have to remove the clothes we are wearing and wear men’s clothes. The Supreme Court and Constitution have ensured that all of us have the right to choose what we want to wear, including myself as a transwoman. The police insisted that I, a transwoman, should change out of my saree to men’s clothes. And they threatened our driver and spoke very badly about transwomen and our rights. So we have filed a complaint against the DySP of Kanjirappally, Madhusoodanan IPS, who was present at the Erumely police station at that time, and the Erumely police officers, including women officers, who behaved with us very badly. We have filed this complaint with the Kottayam SP Harishankar, and mentioned the issue to IG Manoj Abraham, who assured us that action will be taken against them, and that they will raise awareness amongst the police officers.”

Anannyah also clarified that no imposition or restriction with respect to their clothing has been placed upon the group as they make the trek up Sabarimala hill on Tuesday morning.

The police had allegedly threatened to throw the trans women in jail, besides behaving rudely with them on Sunday morning. In a Facebook live, Anannyah had alleged, “Almost all the police there, with the exception of a few of the women officers, behaved with us very badly. They even threatened to us into jail and said jail was where we really belonged. They asked us are you male or female, we said neither, we are transgender people. They said “what transgender people?” They also took aside the driver who brought us here and threatened him. They said you had better not ever be seen bringing such “things” to Sabarimala ever again.” She also alleged that the police made hurtful comments about their clothing, stating, “The police said, you are men right? Why can’t you wear men’s clothing? If you wear a pant and shirt, we can take you to the temple. After some time, we said okay, we will change our clothes, because all we wanted was to conduct darshan at Sabarimala. Then they said no, we offered this some time back but you refused, we are not here to await your convenience.” 

There have been earlier reports quoting the Thantri stating that there are no restrictions on trans women entering the Sabarimala temple. In the past, transgender persons have been allowed to enter the temple after some initial checks. However, on December 14, a transgender person from Tamil Nadu, Mohan was also sent back from Sabarimala.  

‘Why are you dressed like women?’: Police threaten, block transwomen at Sabarimala

Show us some love and support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.