“We the members of the national and international human rights community deeply condemn the human rights violation and inhumane treatment committed by the Revenue Inspector of Chengalpattu (Mahabalipuram) James, District Collector of Chengalpattu Rahul Nadh IAS, Police Inspector Mahabalipuram D. Natarajan on Gopi Shankar Madurai, South Region representative of the National Council for Transgender Persons (NTCP) and prominent intersex rights activist who has contributed a lot for the betterment of gender and sexual minorities,” read the statement issued by the activists.
Madurai, in a Facebook post last week, also accused the DMK government of trapping him in a false drug case. “The present Tamil Nadu DMK Government and the DMK appointed TN police is trying to trap me in more false cases to destroy me, they are scripting fake stories that I smuggle drugs,” read Madurai’s post on the platform.
Madurai alleged physical harassment by police officials
In the month of August, Gopi Shankar Madurai, the South Representative at the National Council for Transgender Persons, had accused a team of police and revenue officials of verbally abusing and physically harassing him during an inspection at an eatery in Mamallapuram.
Reportedly, Madurai was there with 20 other people from the transgender community for a grievance meeting. “..But the meeting was interrupted by insensitive officials and we were treated like cattle and asked to vacate the premises. Mamallapuram police inspector kept his hand on my chest and pushed me unwilling to listen to us,” Madurai alleged saying they also commented on his clothes.
Refuting all the allegations leveled by Madurai, Chengalpattu Collector Rahul Nandh had said that Madurai was sitting with his friends at an eatery violating Covid-19 norms. Hence the group was simply asked to vacate the premises.
“It was Gopi who threatened the officers. The eatery owner and Gopi have been booked under the Epidemic Diseases Act and relevant sections of the Criminal Procedure Code. There was no abuse and the FIR was registered based on a proper investigation,” the official had said while speaking with The New Indian Express, contradicting the allegations made by Madurai.
Community urge that due process should be followed
Expressing shock at the behaviour of state officials, the activists have said that due process of law should be followed in Madurai’s case.
“We issue this statement in solidarity with the firm belief that any form of inhumane treatment, hatred, and violence against Gopi and SOGIESC community is an attack on all of us and the rights enshrined in the Supreme Constitution of India. We stand together to call for solidarity and support across our various communities.”, the statement read further.
The letter was signed by queer and transgender activists from Bangladesh, Canada and Pakistan. Several activists and organizations from India also expressed solidarity with Gopi Shankar Madurai.