In a huge shock to the residents of Coimbatore on Wednesday, local police recovered the body of District Transgender Association president Sangeetha from her residence. Investigating officials tell TNM that the body was found inside a plastic water drum, wrapped in a blanket.
According to members of the association she led, Sangeetha had not been reachable since Sunday. Worried about her, a few members visited her residence in Sai Baba colony on Wednesday morning to check on her. By then neighbours had reportedly informed the local police about a foul smell emanating from Sangeetha's residence.
"On getting there we found her dead inside a plastic water can. She had been wrapped in a blanket," an investigating officer explains. "We found an injury on the neck but the weapon used is not confirmed. The body has been sent to the government hospital for post mortem and we are investigating further to understand who could be behind this," she adds.
Sangeetha was a well-known activist and entrepreneur in Coimbatore and had started a new venture named Trans Kitchen in RS Puram recently. The restaurant which opened in September was run completely by transpersons. She had opened it primarily to provide jobs to members of her community who had become unemployed due to the pandemic. Sangeetha had fought many battles to ensure that her business was up and running. Though she started a catering business in 2014, she has many times spoken about how people would not rent places. During the lockdown, since most restaurants were shut, she started the 32-seater kitchen so that it would be beneficial for people from the community and others.
"Our leader has been murdered by unidentified assailants. We have come here together to see what happened and police are still investigating the matter. She had initiated so many welfare schemes for trans persons and even started a kitchen for us. She worked tirelessly to provide job opportunities to trans people," said a trans woman who had come to Sangeetha's house. "The last time we saw her was on Sunday. We came to check on her because we couldn't reach her at all for the past few days. She had no enmity with anyone and behaved affectionately with everyone," she added.
Grace Banu, a trans rights activist demanded that the government and police immediately find those responsible for the murder and take initiative in the case.
"We already face so much pain in this society. It is unbearable that she (Sangeetha) met with such a gruesome death. The police have to ensure the culprits are punished. We don't know the reason yet but a person has been brutally murdered. The Tamil Nadu government should take initiative and take lawful action in this matter. We condemn those behind this crime. It is heartbreaking," she said in a video posted on Facebook.