Trans organiser of Karachi's Climate March allegedly tortured, raped

Activists say transgender woman was picked up by armed men seeking info about march's funding

Zaki Abbas/Hafeez Tunio December 14, 2021
Climate March was held in Karachi on Sunday. PHOTO: TWITTER


A transgender woman, also one of the organisers of Karachi’s Climate March, was allegedly sexually assaulted and tortured by unknown men a day before the march.

The activist was abducted on Saturday night while she was on her way home after a meeting of the march organisers, the Gender Interactive Alliance (GIA) and Karachi Bachao Tehreek confirmed.

GIA Violence Case Manager Shehzadi Rai told The Express Tribune that the activist was abducted by armed men in a black corolla on her way home.

Rai claimed the unidentified persons kept her in detention for three hours and tortured her to extract information regarding the march’s speeches.

The assailants also allegedly threatened her to stop trans rights activism and related political activities, otherwise, the trans community would be subjected to greater violence in the future.

Rai said she believed the unknown people belonged to Sindh police because “who else can it be given the history of police involvement in violence against transgender people".

She said the personal aide of Federal Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari contacted GIA and further action in this regard is being awaited.

Meanwhile, a member of Karachi Bachao Tehreek said that the movement stands in solidarity with the trans community.

Read Transgender community not happy with police behaviour

“We, as KBT, and as people from a gender that has more privilege will support them in whatever decision they take,” they said while talking to The Express Tribune.

On the other hand, the chief minister's spokesperson said CM Murad Ali Shah has taken notice of the issue and the Inspector General Police (IGP) is also in touch with the community after allegations of police’s involvement in the incident.

"IG has called them for a meeting. The culprits involved in the incident will be arrested if transgender people come forward to lodge the case and cooperate with the police in the investigation," the spokesperson added.

‘Sexual assault of trans activist’

On Monday, KBT shared a thread on Twitter accusing unidentified police officials of abducting and raping a transgender woman who helped organise Sunday’s climate march.

“One of our organizers, a trans woman, was abducted on her way home. She was tortured and raped for information regarding the march’s programme and its speeches,” the official Twitter handle of the movement had shared.

According to KBT, the participants at “the march included many other groups, such as indigenous communities, people who have been dispossessed of their homes due to “green” planning agendas, among many other "victims of climate injustice in Karachi”.

“It is worth noting that this police violence was disproportionately directed towards a trans woman - that sexual violence was weaponized against one of the most vulnerable members of the organising team, so that information about the march and its program could be extorted from her,” the tweet read.

The KBT said the recent incident laid bare the “intersections between climate injustice, police brutality, and gendered violence”.

The tweet also pointed to the heavy-handed response by the Karachi police on the day of the march which was “blockaded and surrounded on all sides by police vans”.

“The blatant state repression against this climate march is part of a sustained campaign of criminalisation and violence targeting economically and socially marginalised groups fighting climate injustice,” it said alluding to the internal displacement of people in Karachi in the name of development.


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