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Tamil Nadu: 38-year-old trans-woman priest beheaded over temple land, body found inside sanctum

The two accused are on the run while the police have sent Rajathi’s body to the post mortem and an investigation has been initiated.

In a horrific incident in Tamil Nadu, a 38-year old trans-woman priest and Bharatanatyam artist was brutally murdered in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu. The mutilated body of Rajathi, a 38-year-old transgender woman priest was found inside the sanctum of a temple on Friday, 15 February, reported The News Minute.

According to the reports, the police has found her decapitated head, which was left outside of the Mariamman temple that she used to manage. The police have arrested two suspects living in the vicinity of the temple. The main accused is identified as 23-year-old Maruthu, who owns the land on which Rajathi’s temple is built.

According to the police, Maruthu with his aide, visited the temple with a sickle when Rajathi was performing a pooja inside the sanctum on Friday morning. Maruthu and his aide then attacked her, chopped her body and placed her head outside the temple, said Grace Banu, the founder of Trans Rights Now Collective and a native of Thoothukudi.

According to Banu, the accused was harassing Rajathi for the past one year. “We heard that he used to threaten her and shout at her as the land belonged to his grandmother. She had been getting calls from him for the past one year,” said Grace Banu.

Reportedly, Rajathi had been in a relationship with Maruthu in the past. The relationship between Maruthu and Rajathi turned sour following which the latter stopped visiting the temple.

“Maruthi and his brothers own the land where this temple is located. After the falling out, it was just Rajathi who was taking care of the temple affairs. A few days ago, Maruthu learnt that she had entered into a relationship with another man. It was following this that the bloodshed took place. Besides this, the 5 brothers also used to harass Rajathi and the trans women who would come to the temple to pray. When she took over the temple, we feel they feared that the temple would fall into the hands of the trans community,” the source from the community, who did not want to be named, told TNM.

Meanwhile, the two accused are on the run while the police have sent Rajathi’s body to the post mortem and an investigation has been initiated. The funeral ceremony will be held in Thoothukudi on Saturday.

Speaking to the media, Rajamani, the sub-inspector of Thoothukudi North police station added, “We have registered an FIR in the case. The accused has been identified as a 23-year old man who lives in the same area. No arrest has been made until now.”

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