In a shocking incident, army men stationed at Secunderabad's Parade Grounds allegedly assaulted a transgender woman and tried to rape her on Saturday night.
The incident came to light after activists took to social media, and shared photos of the victim, who had several bruise marks on her body, and was also bleeding from the injuries.
Speaking to TNM, activist Rachana Mudraboyina says, "The military men tried to pull her into the Parade Grounds premises, and to strip her. They also thrashed her when she tried to resist. They may have been drunk."
"When the victim escaped, and managed to complain to a patrolling vehicle of the Hyderabad police that was on duty, the policemen started videotaping the incident. However, the military men snatched the phone and broke it into several pieces," Rachana adds.
Activists now plan to file a complaint at the Begumpet police station. Despite this, their hope is bleak.
"Even though we are approaching the police, the issue gets tricky because army personnel are involved. They have this sense of authority and abused their power. The victim is still in a lot of pain," Rachana says.
This is also not the first such incident, according to activists.
"There was a similar case one or two years ago, where army men picked up a transgender person from the same area, and beat the person up. We are still fighting that case through the legal system. Unless the state intervenes, trans persons who work late in the night in vulnerable situations, will only become more vulnerable," Rachana adds.
The victim has received first aid, and was discharged from a local hospital.
However, the police say that they are helpless and claim they cannot take any action since army personnel are involved. In fact, they have justified the assault by claiming that the victim entered a prohibited military area.
"We can't do anything, because the victim supposedly entered military area, and they seem to have caught her and beat her up. They should not enter that area. It comes under their (armyâ€™s) jurisdiction and they have a lot of powers there," Inspector G Jagan, from the Begumpet police station, tells TNM.
However, activists deny the police's claims, and accuse them of trying to avoid registering a complaint.
"Trespassing is an offence, but there no board in the area that suggested that it was out of bounds. Even if she did trespass, that was no reason to assault her. They should have locked the person up. The police want to avoid booking a case, stating that it happened under the army's jurisdiction," Rachana says.
The inspector, though, says he is helpless. "They can remand any person for entering. It is illegal to enter that area," he says.