Four LGBT members were arrested by the police here and made to disrobe in a police station to prove their identity, according to an FIR filed by one of them. They were also made to write an undertaking that they will never wear cross dress or cross makeup and if they are found in such an attire anywhere in the city in future they could be arrested, the FIR said.
The incident had allegedly taken place after the four emerged from a party in hotel in the city on Saturday night and the FIR was filed by one of the four on Monday after they were allowed to go. The FIR, which was made available to mediapersons here on Tuesday, said that a photo journalist, who claimed to be reporter, was also with the police in the incident.
According to the FIR, the four persons were charged with extortion and taken to West Agartala women’s police station where they were made to disrobe by both male and women police officers who were present there. In the police station we were asked by the police to open our clothes and disclose our gender. The most embarrassing thing was that the police kept our wigs and inner garments in the police station, the FIR said and demanded justice. The FIR said that they were charged with extortion without any proof .”It is a completely false charge, it said.
The four LGBT community members claimed that their Right to Privacy had been violated as well as those provided by Section 377 of National Legal Services Authority judgement of the Supreme Court. The apex court had in its judgement declared transgender people as the ’third gender’, affirmed that fundamental rights granted under the Constitution will be equally applicable to them and gave them the right to self-identification of their gender as male, female or the third gender.
The FIR said that the photo journalist had followed the four from the hotel and had even tried to touch them. He had wanted to dance with them in the hotel and taunted them. We did not entertain him but he followed us with the police officials and caught hold of us in Melarmath area, the FIR said. Melarmath is about half km away from the hotel here. No official of the West Agartala Police Station was available for comments on the incident.
A Tripura Police official said a report on the incident has been sought and the guilty will be punished. Our junior officers said that they made preventive arrests under section 151 of IPC (assembly of five or more persons likely to cause disturbance of public peace). I’m not sure what grounds they (the LGBT members) were arrested, we are looking into the matter and have sought a report, he said. Sneha Gupta Roy, a LGBT rights activist, told reporters on Tuesday that the video footage of the incident has gone viral on various media channels and has caused mental suffering to the families of the four persons. She also alleged that the LGBT members were made to strip inside the police station in the presence of male and women police personnel.
She claimed that those from the community who eke out a living as make-up artists are now almost ostracized from the society after the incident and their livelihood is at stake. Advocate Nilanjana Roy said the incident is not only violation of transgender rights but a gross denial of human rights. ”Cross dressing cannot be considered a crime and we will fight the case in court to get justice, she added.