15 Feb 2019
Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu (India)
TDoR list ref: tgeu/18-Feb-2019/Rajathi
Rajathi was a priest. Her mutilated body was found inside the sanctum of the Mariamman temple she ran. Her severed head was left outside the temple premises.
Her suspected assailants are two men who lived in the vicinity. Both are on the run.
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, along with his aide, is said to have visited the temple with a sickle when Rajathi was performing a pooja inside the sanctum on Friday morning
Grace Banu, the founder of Trans Rights Now Collective and a native of Thoothukudi, told TNM that Maruthu and his aide then attacked her, chopped her body and placed her head outside the temple. According to sources within the trans community, the accused had been harassing Rajathi for a 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,” Grace says.
"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 came 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.