21 Oct 2020
Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu (India)
Sangeetha's body was found wrapped in a blanket and in a plastic water drum in her home in Coimbatore on Wednesday 21st October. She had not been seen for 3 days.
Trans woman entrepreneur found murdered in her Coimbatore home
Investigating officials tell TNM that Sangeetha's body was found in a plastic water drum, wrapped in a blanket.
In a huge shock to the residents of Coimbatore on Wednesday, local police recovered the body of District Transgender Association president Sangeetha from her residence. Investigating officials tell TNM that the body was found inside a plastic water drum, wrapped in a blanket.
According to members of the association she led, Sangeetha had not been reachable since Sunday. Worried about her, a few members visited her residence in Sai Baba colony on Wednesday morning to check on her. By then neighbours had reportedly informed the local police about a foul smell emanating from Sangeetha's residence.
"On getting there we found her dead inside a plastic water can. She had been wrapped in a blanket," an investigating officer explains. "We found an injury on the neck but the weapon used is not confirmed. The body has been sent to the government hospital for post mortem and we are investigating further to understand who could be behind this," she adds.
Sangeetha was a well-known activist and entrepreneur in Coimbatore and had started a new venture named Trans Kitchen in RS Puram recently. The restaurant which opened in September was run completely by transpersons. She had opened it primarily to provide jobs to members of her community who had become unemployed due to the pandemic. Sangeetha had fought many battles to ensure that her business was up and running. Though she started a catering business in 2014, she has many times spoken about how people would not rent places. During the lockdown, since most restaurants were shut, she started the 32-seater kitchen so that it would be beneficial for people from the community and others.
A brilliant leader and activist, Sangeetha, was brutally murdered in Coimbatore yesterday. She was Chief of the Transgender Association, and opened the first trans kitchen, employing 12 trans women. Transphobia is global, we must #StopTransMurder now. pic.twitter.com/ppTBHPn89H— Sharmin Hossain (@sharminultra) October 21, 2020
On 23rd October a suspect was arrested and confessed to the murder.
R. Rajesh, 24, confessed Friday to the murder of transgender woman M. Sangeetha, 59, an entrepreneur and matriarch of a transgender association in the Coimbatore district. While police believe that R. Rajesh is the main culprit they are actively searching for others believed to be his accomplices.
Sangeetha, a revered elder, hired Rajesh to cook at her new restaurant ‘Covai Trans Kitchen’, on East Venkataswamy Road in September. Being a compassionate soul also allowed him to stay in her home as it was too far to commute from his residence in the Nagapattinam district.
On Thursday, Rajesh surrendered at the Sanganoor Village Administrative Office and was later handed over to the police. He confessed to having stolen ₹20,000 ($270USD) from Sangeetha’s residence and ran away to his hometown, the police said. According to the Hindu, Rajesh murdered Sangeetha Sunday night when she threatened to report him to police on charges of sexual assault.