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Police in India arrest two over beheading of trans priest

Police in India arrest two over beheading of trans priest

Indian trans woman priest, Rajathi. | Photo: Facebook.

Police in the southern India state Tamil Nadu have arrested two people in connection with the beheading of a trans female priest last week.

Two men, named Marathu and Snovin, were charged with murder, according to News 18.

The 38-year-old priest, named Rajathi, was beheaded on Friday (15 February). Attackers left her head outside the temple while her mutilated body was left inside, according to local media.

The prime suspect, a 12-year-old man named Marathu, is reportedly Rajathi’s ex lover.

Maruthu surrendered to court on Monday evening and Snovin was arrested on Tuesday, according to News 18.

Maruthu had reportedly been harassing Rajathi after she ended the relationship more than a year ago.

The pair will reportedly remain in custody until Friday.

Police inaction

Local activist Grace Banu said police would have already caught the accused if the victim had been a cis woman.

‘They [police] know who the accused is and they still haven’t caught him’ the founder of Trans Rights Now Collective told TMN.

‘Because she was a trans woman, even though she was a priest who was murdered inside a temple, there has been no action yet’.

Trans villagers gathered to protest the murder over the weekend.

But, according to Banu, there would have been a far greater uproar if the victim had been cisgender.

’Just imagine the kind of protests that would have erupted in that area’ Banu said to TNM.

Trans Indians

While a landmark Supreme Court ruling in 2014 recognized transgender as a third gender, the community remains marginalized.

India’s transgender population continue to experience violence despite  a landmark win for the LGBTI community last year.

Trans Indians and their allies have been urgently rallying against a transgender bill. They want a parliamentary committee in the Upper House to review the law.

India’s lower house of parliament, the Lok Sabha, passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill last month. They had hooped it would protect their rights.

But, the transgender community has slammed it. They claim it infringes their rights rather than protecting them.