LAHORE: Two parallel investigations have been launched into the mysterious death of a transgender individual in Sahiwal, local media outlets reported on Wednesday.
So far, little progress has been made in identifying the victim. However, representatives of the transgender community are now pushing for a judicial inquiry into what they term was a murder.
On September 6, a transgender person was burnt alive by unidentified people at a cab stand at Mall Mandi Chowk here on Thursday.
According to police, four men took the transgender person to a deserted place near the cab station and attempted to sexually assault her.
He was doused in petrol before being set on fire for resisting their attempts. She was shifted to the Sahiwal DHQ Hospital to be referred to Lahore; however, the victim of the hate crime succumbed to his injuries before further treatment.
Following the media reports of the incident once videos of the burnt victim emerged, two investigation committees were formed by District Police Officer (DPO) Mubassir Makan and Sahiwal Regional Police Officer (RPO) Shariq Kamal to probe into the matter.
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 while, DPO Makan’s investigation committee is being headed by himself.
Accoding to the post mortem examination of the victim, “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 had been “amputated or castrated”. There was nail polish on both hands. The victim’s age is reported between 35-40.
“There were no torture marks on the deceased’s body. There was also a tattoo on the right arm of the individual that read “Majid alias Qasim”,” stated the report.
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.
Transgender rights activist Nayaab Ali while commenting on the matter dismissed the possibility of suicide, asking how anyone could self-immolate on a busy road in the middle of the day.
The RPO office media spokesperson has said that the committee had been ordered to submit a report within five days. The deadline is September 13.
According to Rescue 1122 records, an unnamed caller had reported the body. The columns of “Name”, “Father’s Name” and “Address” in the rescue team’s records as well as, the post-mortem examination report have been filled as “unknown”.
While talking to a local media outlet local transgender community members Ali and Bobi criticised the police. They said that no one had gotten in touch with 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 assured that the victim would have been identified if anyone from the transgender community had been called in to identify the body before its burial.
On the other hand, the DPO’s spokesperson has claimed to have distributed the victim’s sketches in order to get an identification.
These claims have been refuted by the transgender community who say that the police did not share any information with them.
Bobi has demanded that Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Usman Buzdar, Provincial Cultural Minister Fayaazul Hasan Chohan and Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari take notice of the “horrifying murder” and ascertain the facts of the victim’s death.