Transgender persons’ killings: Investigator says ‘extremists’ may be behind recent murders

CPO said none of the people killed were transgender persons, but men disguised as beggars.

Transgender protesters in Rawalpindi demanding justice for the murder victims. PHOTO: ZAFAR ASLAM/EXPRESS

RAWALPINDI: The Rawalpindi police have linked the recent killings and attacks on members of the transgender community with ‘extremist militants’, adding that possibilities of rivalries between transgender groups and monetary disputes too cannot be ruled out.

Four transgender persons have allegedly been killed in the last week in the twin cities.

Investigation officer Sub-Inspector Muhammad Asghar of Waris Khan police, while talking to The Express Tribune, revealed that the police had requested cellular companies to provide them with the deceased’s mobile phones’ data records so they could make a headway in the case.

Laying out various potential motives behind the killings, Asghar said the involvement of extremists seemed to be the probable cause behind the murders. “This is the most important angle which would be focused on during investigation,” he said.

He further said that several members from the transgender community were interrogated following the killings.

Other reasons cited as motives behind the killings include the members of one transgender rights group joining another. “Leaving a group is not considered an easy option because they are so attached with each other. When one switches to the other faction, it results in rivalry between the two groups,” the officer explained.

Some of the transgender welfare groups include Shemale Foundation Pakistan headed by Almas Bobby, the Meera group and Iftikhar group.

Recently, two members from the Meera group joined Bobby’s group that ignited a backlash from the former faction. Members from Meera’s group attacked the house of the two members, located in the jurisdiction of the Civil Lines Police Station, manhandled them and shaved their heads, said Sub-Inspector Muhammad Sadaqat of the Civil Lines police.

Dispelling monetary means as the motive behind the dispute, Asghar said the community never takes extreme steps over monetary matters. He hoped to trace the culprits after getting hands on the mobile records of the deceased.

A police official, requesting anonymity, said members of the community were also involved in trapping young people and raping them after depriving them of money.

“So, maybe they had wronged someone who took such an extreme step in revenge,” the official said.

City Police Officer Israr Ahmad Abbasi, on the other hand, claimed that none of the people killed were transgender persons, rather they were men who had disguised themselves as such to earn money.

“They were not transgender people, they were men who had taken up begging in disguise as transgender persons. We are investigating the case from each and every angle and would share details with media once we solve it,” he claimed.

Rebuffing the investigation officer’s stance, the CPO rejected the idea that militants might be behind the killings.

Almas Bobby, in response to Abbasi’s claim, said the deceased were after all human and their culprits should be arrested.

Last Saturday night, unidentified armed men opened fire on three transgender persons, killing them on the spot while injuring six others. The FIR was registered by the Waris Khan police.

The deceased were identified as Muhammad Yasin alias Billi, Hamza Tanveer alias Shahzaib and Amir alias Saima Shahzadi.

On May 5, the body of a transgender person, identified as Falak Sher alias Almaroof Bijli, was found from a greenbelt on the Islamabad Expressway in the jurisdiction of Koral Police Station.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 13th, 2015.

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