Dalit transwoman assaulted for ‘marrying’ caste Hindu youth in TN

Dalit transwoman assaulted for ‘marrying’ caste Hindu youth in TN

A 28-year-old Dalit transwoman has accused caste-Hindus of assaulting her and urinating on her on Wednesday (March 23) for allegedly marrying a young man of their community in Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli district.

A 28-year-old Dalit transwoman has accused caste-Hindus of assaulting her and urinating on her on Wednesday (March 23) for allegedly marrying a young man of their community in Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli district.

Police identified the victim as U Udhaya (28), a Dalit transwoman and a folk artiste (Karakattam) of Sathankulam in Tirunelveli district.

According to police, Udhaya and Bala Ananth (19), a daily wage worker belonging to Nadar community (a Most Backward Community) of Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district, were in a relationship for over two years and they got married a week ago.

As per Udhaya, the marriage was not official. They had exchanged garlands in front of a hill temple, with some friends standing as witnesses.

In the complaint, Udhaya said that Bala Ananth’s family members dragged her inside the car and assaulted her for being in a relationship with Bala and marrying him.

Recalling the incident, she said, “We (she and Bala) met and spoke for sometime at a friend’s house on Wednesday afternoon and he left me. When I was on my way back home, a car came near me and asked me if I was Udhaya. The moment I said yes, the people dragged me inside the car and started assaulting me.”

“Initially, I didn’t know why they were assaulting me and only later, when they abused me for marrying Bala, I realised why they were beating me,” she said.

Udhaya, who is now admitted in a government hospital in Kanyakumari, said she was all these years scared about her relationship with Bala.

“I did not want to pursue this relationship but he was keen on this. He only tied the mangalsutra. He promised to give me a better life. He even went to the extent of cutting his hands (threatening suicide). That’s when I said okay for the relationship,” Udhaya said.

After being assaulted inside the car, Udhaya claimed she was taken to a secluded place like a forest, where she was beaten up in front of Bala.

“When I was beaten up in the forest, he did not say anything. Whenever he tried to say something, I got more beatings. That’s when they hurled casteist slur against me and criticised me for marrying him,” she said.

She also alleged that Bala’s mother urinated on her face in the secluded place.

“Bala’s mother Lakshmi urinated on me. I pleaded with them to let me go alive and I would leave the district and survive somewhere without coming under their sight. But they said they wanted to kill me to teach a lesson to others,” she said.

Also read: Madras High Court recommends reservation for transgenders

“They beat me until I lost my consciousness and threw me on a road from where I walked to a nearby police check post, where the policemen sent me on a lorry to my place,” she said.

Sowbarnika, Udhaya’s foster mother and a transwoman, said her face was completely disfigured when she reached home.

“Her face was completely disfigured. She was not even in a state to walk,” she said. “Ever since I became a transwoman, I never felt bad about it. But now I feel I should not have taken up this life at all. We don’t even hurt animals. How can they urinate on a fellow human?”

Udhaya’s biological mother Saraswathi said she was unaware about the developments until she reached the hospital.

“I only know him as a folk artiste. Whenever I called him, he would be somewhere at a function (performance). When I don’t get calls, I would be assuming he might be in some function. Just because we are born into this caste and my son took up this life (transwoman), he cannot be treated like this,” said Saraswathi, who is still unable to accept Udhaya as a transwoman and refers to her as him/son.

A badly injured Udhaya was initially reluctant to file a case and did not even tell the policemen at the checkpost about the incident, but when she was admitted to the hospital, she had to give a statement, based on which Tirunelveli police filed a case against Bala Ananth (19), his father P Balamurugan, his mother Lakshmi, and two other relatives, Sakthivel and Manikandan.

The charges include section 355 (assault or use of criminal force intending to dishonour that person), 147 (rioting), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) of the Indian Penal Code.

The accused are absconding and a hunt has been launched for them. They were unreachable on phone for their comments.

A police officer privy to the investigation told The Federal that they have registered a case based on the preliminary investigation.

“Since she is a transwoman, we have to deal with it carefully so that she is not treated badly at the hospital by fellow mates. So, we have not intensified the investigation. But since the complaint was true, we filed an FIR against the accused persons on Thursday (March 24) and today (March 25) we seized the car in which she was assaulted,” the officer said, adding that they might also add charges under the SC/ST Act against the accused.

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