Updated Sep 13, 2018 07:37am

Trans community demands judicial inquiry into death of transgender in Sahiwal

Shafiq Butt

Two parallel investigations have been launched into the mysterious death of a transgender individual in Sahiwal, DawnNews TV reported on Wednesday.

However, very little progress has been made by the investigating teams in identifying the identity of the transgender individual, and representatives of the transgender community are now pushing for a judicial inquiry into what they term was a murder.

A transgender person had allegedly been burnt alive by unidentified persons at a cab stand at Mall Mandi Chowk earlier this month. The incident was reported by the media on Sept 6, after videos of the gruesome incident were circulated on social media.

Two investigation committees were then formed by District Police Officer (DPO) Mubassir Makan and Sahiwal Regional Police Officer (RPO) Shariq Kamal to investigate the incident.

The committee formed by the RPO is headed by Superintendent of Police (SP) Investigation Sajad Ahmed and includes Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Investigation Rana Fawad and DSP Sahiwal Humayun Iftikhar.

DPO Makan's investigation committee is being headed by himself.

The post mortem examination of the victim, dated September 2, had revealed that "severe burns" had been the cause of death.

The report had further stated that the dead body was that of a healthy "male transgender" of "average height and weight", who had a "genital organ" missing. The post-mortem report said the deceased was "amputated or castrated". There was nail polish on both hands. The victim's age is reported between 35-40.

The post-mortem report said that there were no torture marks on the deceased's body. The report also mentioned a tattoo on the right arm of the individual that read "Majid alias Qasim".

In a handout given by the DPO to the media on Tuesday, Makan termed the incident an "accident", stating that no one was seen throwing any chemical, petrol or any flammable material at the victim nor was the victim actually seen "running at the cab stand", as described in earlier reports.

Makan claimed that the Crime Scene Unit did not receive a single statement from anyone saying that they had seen someone throw a flammable, chemical material or petrol at the victim.

Zulfiqar, the station house officer of Fateh Sher Police Station, said samples of victim's body have also been sent to the Punjab Forensic Science Agency, Lahore for analysis and the police are waiting for a final report.

“[The forensic analysis] will take seven to eight days,” he said.

The RPO's spokesperson told DawnNews TV that they are considering all possibilities, including murder, accident or suicide by the victim.

Nayaab Ali, a transgender rights activist, has, however, dismissed the possibility of suicide, asking how anyone could self-immolate on a busy road in the middle of the day.

According to the media spokesperson of the RPO office, the committee had been ordered to submit a report within five days. The deadline ends on September 13.

The matter of identification

Rescue 1122 records say that an unnamed caller had reported the body. The columns of "Name", "Father's Name" and "Address" in both the rescue team's records and the post-mortem examination report had been filled simply as "unknown".

While talking to DawnNews TV, local trangender community members Ali and Bobi criticised the police for not approaching the transgender community to identify the victim and alleged that the Fateh Sher police had seemed to be "in a hurry" to "bury an unidentified transgender".

They said that if the police would have contacted anyone from the transgender community before the burial, the identification would have not been a problem.

The DPO's spokesperson, however, had claimed that they had distributed the victim's sketches and also made announcements from mosques in order to get an identification.

Ali dismissed those claims and said the police did not share any information with the transgender community.

Bobi has demanded that Chief Minister of Punjab Usman Buzdar, Provincial Cultural Minister Fayaazul Hasan Chohan and Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari look into the “horrifying murder” and determine the facts of the victim's death.

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