November 9, 2016
In a shocking incident, a 38-year-old transgender set herself ablaze in front of a police station in Chennai after police allegedly seized her scooter and later succumbed to burn injuries at Kilpauk Medical College Hospital on Wednesday.
Taara, a resident of Choolaimedu, poured petrol on herself around 5 am and immolated herself in front of the Pondy Bazaar police station, which is located in the heart of T Nagar, the city’s shopping hub.
Friends found Taara covered in mud on the ground when they reached the police station, said an activist. She was taken to hospital and is said to have suffered 90 percent burn injuries. Police in the Pondy Bazaar police station acknowledged that they had seized a scooter in the early morning hours and Taara approached the station claiming it to be hers.
“The scooter was seized when we went on rounds in Thirumalai Pillai Road, where we heard a transgenders involved in the flesh trade trying to woo the customers. When they fled from the spot on seeing us, one of them left behind a scooter and we seized it,” said a police officer.
Police said that they refused to hand over the scooter to Taara because she was drunk when she came to the police station. After an argument with the police, she went out and suddenly set herself on fire.
However, friends of the deceased voiced doubts about the police’s account of the incident.”She was riding the scooter in the early morning hours and it’s not clear why the police seized the vehicle,” said Sreejith Ramakrishna, an activist.
Her friends and members of transgender community are staging protests seeking action against the police.