Ongoing police violence against hijras in India
Sexual Minorities activists go on hunger strike and ask for support
We are writing from SANGAMA, a sexuality minorities' rights organisation in Bangalore, India.
Protest letter follows.
Kokila, a 21 year old hijra (member of a traditional male-to-female transsexual community in South Asia), has been living in Bangalore City for the last 5 years. She survives by doing sex-work, the only option available to most hijras.
On 18th June, 2004 (Friday), around 8 p.m., while she was waiting for clients, she was raped by 10 goondas (all male) who forcefully took her to the grounds next to Old Madras Road. They threatened to kill her if she wouldn't have sex with them. She was forced to have oral and anal sex with all of them. While she was being sexually assaulted, two policemen arrived. Most of the goondas ran away from the scene but two were caught by the policemen. Kokila told the policemen about the sexual assault by the goondas. Instead of registering a case against the goondas and sending Kokila for medical examination, they abused her using filthy language and took her along with the two captured goondas to the Byappanahalli Police Station. They didn't even allow Kokila to pickup her trousers from the ground and she was forced to be naked for the next 7 hours.
In the Police Station Kokila was subjected to brutal torture. They took her to a room inside the Police Station, stripped her naked and handcuffed her hands to a window. There were six policemen in that room. All of the policemen were under the influence of alcohol. Many of them hit her with lathis and their hands, and kicked her with their boots. They abused her using sexually violent language. The verbal abuses include: ninna ammane keyya (we will fuck your mother), ninna akkane keyya (we will fuck your sister), khoja (derogatory word used against transgenders) and gandu (one who gets penetrated anally, a derogatory word). She was assaulted brutally by policemen and suffered severe injuries on her hands, palms, buttocks, shoulder and legs. They also tortured her sexually by burning her nipples and chapdi (vaginal portion of hijras) with a burning coir rope. One policeman of the rank of SI (Sub Inspector of Police) positioned his rifle on her chapdi and threatened to shoot her. He also tried push the rifle butt and lathi into the chapdi and saying, “Do you have a vagina, can this go inside?” while other policemen were laughing. This is to humiliate a transsexual woman by insisting that she is not a woman as she was not born with a vagina.
At around 11 p.m. PI (Inspector of Police, highest ranking Police Official of that Police Station) arrived into the room. He directed the policemen to continue the torture. The torture continued till 1 a.m. in the night. Despite begging for water she was not given any water. The police tied her up and the Inspector of Police threatened to leave her on the railway track unless she confessed to the knowledge of the robbery of a diamond ring and a bracelet. They paid no attention to her pleading that she had no knowledge of the robbery, or the person they were trying to get to implicate in the robbery.
At 1 a.m., four policemen (including PI and SI) dragged Kokila into a police jeep and took her to a hamam (bathhouse run by hijras) in Krishnarajapuram area. They physically abused her and forced her to knock on the hamam door and call the hijras living there to open the door. At around 2 a.m., they took her to another hamam in Garudacharapalya area. They broke open the lock of that hamam. They forced her to wear male clothes (shirt and trouser). They tied a towel to her head and threatened to shave off her hair. Police also searched both the hamams illegally.
Belarus to host LGBT events despite dictatorship
World Homo Culture Conference & Moonbow Festival to be held in Minsk
On August 28-29, Minsk, the capital of the East European dictatorship, Belarus, is to host both the first stage of this year's 7th ILGCN (International Lesbian & Gay Cultural Network) World Conference on Lesbian & Gay Culture and the final phase of the 4th Moonbow Human Rights & Homo Cultural Festival 2004, which has been taking place on both sides of the Baltic Sea.
"During Soviet times from 1933 till 1993, at least 60,000 homosexuals in the Soviet Union were sent to prisons and labor camps and it is an interesting study to compare Soviet and Facist German policies towards homosexuals," says Viachaslau Bortnik, chairman of Belarus-Amnesty International -co-organizer of the ILGCN events.
"On August 29, we also plan to visit the biggest concentration camp on Soviet territory - Trostinets - not far from Minsk where homosexuals were among the prisoners. Homosexuality was decriminalized in Belarus 10 years ago, but homophobia and violent discrimantory police policies still remain," Bortnik adds.