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Predatory band continues to target transwomen as police blame victims

Predatory band continues to target transwomen as police blame victims

When the police of Karachi harbour the “she asked for it” mentality, it’s no wonder they have failed to solve the August 30 murder of a transwoman in DHA, thereby allowing the culprits travelling in a white Corolla to injure three more in the upmarket locality since then.

Chanda was gunned down by the gang in the Shahbaz Commercial area. Before that incident, the four Corolla men had pulled Zoya into their car in the Badar Commercial locality and chopped off her hair. A year before that, the suspects had shaved off a transwoman’s head in the same area.

Bindiya Rana, who heads the Gender Interactive Alliance (GIA), an organisation that works for the rights of the transgender community, told The News that the attackers had reportedly used a white Corolla or Vigo in all the three DHA incidents following Chanda’s murder as well.

According to Bindiya, the gang broke into a transwoman’s flat in the Badar Commercial area on October 7 and subjected her to gang rape; two nights before that, Khushi Khan was physically assaulted in front of policemen in the Khadda Market locality, while Payal was also publically beaten up last month in the Badar Commercial area.

Two days before the attack on Payal, a gang of five men broke into a transwoman’s house in Safoora Goth while she was out and subjected three of her disciples to rape. The News also talked with Khushi. She said she was standing at a traffic signal at Khayaban-e-Shamsheer when a white Corolla stopped near her and the four men travelling in it asked her to come with them.

When she refused, the suspects drove away. However, one of them returned in the same vehicle and told her that he only wished to drop her wherever she wanted to go. She got in the car and told him to drop her at Gizri. As he started the engine, he phoned someone and told them that he had picked her up. When she sensed he was going the wrong way, she told him to stop the car, but he would not.

“When I spotted four policemen, I pulled the handbrake to stop the car. The man punched me in the face and pushed me out of the car in front of the law enforcers. I ran up to them to complain, but they told me they were on security duty and that I should call 15.”

When the man in the Corolla saw that the policemen had refused to help her, he called up his friends and they all physically assaulted her in front of the law enforcers. She then went to the Darakhshan police station to file a complaint, but the duty officer asked her to first get a medical report. She got herself examined at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre and now awaits her report so she could lodge a case against the suspects.

Bindiya said that if Khushi had not had the presence of mind to pull the handbrake, she would have been raped and murdered. “Khushi had noted down the registration number of the vehicle and given it to the Darakhshan police, but they have yet to make an arrest.”

She lamented that the men behind such attacks enjoyed political backing, saying that even if they were arrested, the police would make such weak cases that they could be released on bail in the first hearing.

In Payal’s case, she said, one of the two men who had tried to kidnap her and then beaten her up was arrested with the help of CCTV camera footage, but he was released on bail within 24 hours.

Bindiya said she had been receiving phone calls from unidentified men, who threatened her that she would meet the same fate as Chanda’s, Khushi’s or Payal’s if she continued to raise voice for the arrest of the Corolla gang.

Police, however, accuse transwomen of “asking for it”. Inspector Naeem Awan, the Darakhshan station investigation officer, told The News that since Chanda’s murder, no case of physical assault involving transgendered persons had been registered.

While Awan admitted that the police had failed to trace the men involved in Chanda’s murder even with the help of the CCTV camera footage, he blamed the transwoman for provoking the gun attack.

There seems to be little hope of solving cases of violence against transwomen when the officials entrusted with the responsibility of protecting every citizen and bringing to book all wrongdoers are so prejudiced.

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