In yet another instance of police brutality, as many as 15 transgender persons were allegedly beaten up by the police at midnight on Tuesday in Kochi.
The police are also reported to have taken into custody all of them although nine out of the group were later released. The police has allegedly registered a case against the remaining six transgender persons under sections 395 and 294 B of the IPC for dacoity and uttering obscenities.
Some of the trans women working in the newly inaugurated Kochi Metro were also among those who were booked by the police.
The incident happened at Rajaji Junction near the KSRTC bus station. According to reports, one of the trans women sustained injuries on her head in the police attack.
In a video of the incident which has been uploaded on Facebook, a policeman can be seen shouting at the transgender persons and warning them that the police will not permit them to be seen in the area from the next day.
The trans women can be heard asking him why he pushed them and also questioning the absence of women police officers.
The Sexual and Gender Minority Federation (SGMF), a Collective working for the rights of transgender persons, will lodge a complaint with the DGP and the Kochi city police Commissioner, asking for a stop to such gender-based violence.
Speaking to TNM, Sreekutty, the state president of SGMF, said, "I am yet to get more details about the incident. I donâ€™t know how many metro workers were among those who were beaten up by the police. If the transgender persons had done anything wrong, the police can proceed with legal action. They can register a case or arrest them. Why should they beat them?"
She added that the Collective would not sit back and watch such incidents quietly.
"We will file a complaint against those responsible for this," she asserted.
The police, on the other hand, claims that the transgender persons were arrested for snatching money from a 22-year-old youth. His mobile phone is also said to have gone missing.
However, Hasna Shahitha Gypsi, a woman's activist, has alleged in a Facebook post put up on Thursday morning, that the youth was someone who has harassed transgender persons previously and that he used to throw water balloons with stones at them.
Hasna's post says, "One of the transgender persons got injured on the head the day before. The transgender persons were arrested for trying to stop him (the youth) from snatching the purse of Parvathy, a trans woman. Six trans women have been in police custody for a crime which they have not committed."
Hasna's post further points out that transgender people are often mocked and harassed by society for its amusement and that ironically, it has landed the victims in jail.
Contradicting the claims of the transgender community, Ananth Pal, Circle Inspector, Central Police Station, Kochi, said that the police had been receiving complaints that the transgender persons were creating trouble in the area at night.
â€śLast night, the complaint was specific and we reached the spot based on the information we received,â€ť he said.
Ananth Pal denied that the transgender persons had been beaten up or that they had been injured in the attack.
â€śWe conducted medical examination of the 15 who were taken into custody. No injury was found on anyone,â€ť the officer said.