A day after a transgender allegedly immolated herself outside Pondy Bazaar police station in Chennai, three purported videos of her arguing with policemen surfaced on Thursday. In one of the videos, purportedly shot by a policeman, Taara (38) is heard saying: “You know me for a long time. I don’t do such things.” A policeman behind the camera is heard saying, “Why did you hit a policeman with a stone?” To this, Taara is heard replying, “Sir, tell me the truth, did I hit you?”
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As she leaves, one of the videos purportedly shows her saying that she will set herself on fire and police will have to answer to the government. Police have not confirmed authenticity of the videos.
While police have said Taara poured petrol and immolated herself outside the police station, officers are divided over allegations that Taara was abused by policemen and that led her to commit suicide.
One of the officers said Taara reached the police station in the early hours of Wednesday after her scooter was seized. “An internal report said police had raided a nearby street Tuesday night after receiving information that some transgenders were carrying out flesh trade there. Everyone fled, but police seized a scooter left behind by one of them. Taara had reportedly come to take her scooter back. There are no verified reports of officers abusing or insulting her. They just asked her to return later to get the scooter,” said an officer.
Another officer said that officers on duty had insulted Taara. “She entered into an argument and threatened to set herself ablaze over what they had done to her. There were heated arguments and a minor scuffle. But she was not taken into custody,” the officer said.
Chennai City Police Commissioner S George could not be reached for comments.
Rose Venkatesan, a transgender activist and Taara’s friend, said: “It is possible that the policemen set her on fire after abusing her or that she took the step after being hurt by their behaviour. No probe has started even after 48 hours of the incident. This shows how insensitive police in Chennai are towards transgenders.”