While Kerala has become a clear leader on trans issues in India, its police have a bit of catching up to do.
There have been multiple reports of alleged police brutality in recent weeks against trans people in the state.
Kerala was celebrated internationally for making history when Kochi Metro created a quota system for hiring trans workers. The state also held the country’s first trans beauty pageant and athletic competition.
But some of those Metro workers were part of a group of 15 trans women Kochi Police detained on suspicion of theft.
On Wednesday night around 10.30pm a trans woman had her bag allegedly snatched by a young man, according to the Deccan Chronicle. When it happened a number of other trans people in vicinity ran to her defence.
When police arrived they took the boy’s word that he had been pick pocketed by the trans women.
Police detained the women and released nine of them on Thursday morning.
Some of the women alleged one of the police officers beat them while in custody and did not allow them to use the restroom.
They said the police officer has a history of violence against trans people, according to South Live. The officer once allegedly threw a water balloon with a stone in it at a trans woman. She ended up in hospital after the attack.
A series of unfortunate events
The incident comes just days after a group of trans women said police assaulted them when they tried to file a complaint.
The police did not believe their complaint about a lobby group. When the women refused to disperse they were allegedly attacked.
‘They approached the cops to complain against a north Indian lobby which assaulted them earlier in the day,’ Sheethal Shyam, secretary, Sexual Minority Forum (SMF) told the Deccan Chronicle.
‘However, they were manhandled by the police team. Later another group of 11 members of the community reached the north police station to raise the complaint. However, cops beat them up.’
‘Two transsexuals [sic], Poorna and Ayisha, were seriously injured in the police action and admitted to the Ernakulam General Hospital.’
But police denied any wrongdoing and they were simply there to keep an eye on the women.
‘The team was stationed there to monitor the movement of TGs [transgenders] in view of the wide-spread complaints of prostitution and robbery,’ said Kochi’s Deputy Commissioner of Police, Arul R.B. Krishna.
‘A few minutes later, they turned up, hurled abuses without provocation and even prevented the officials physically from getting off their vehicle.’