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Tamil Nadu: Police make arrests in the case of the murder of Transwoman priest in Temple

Police has held two persons in connection with the brutal murder of Rajathi, a transwoman priest, inside a temple in Thoothukudi district in Tamil Nadu.

The transwoman was brutally beheaded inside the sanctum of the temple and her head was kept outside the temple on Friday, 15th February. The deceased has been identified as Rajathi, a Bharatnatyam dancer and priest. Police reports claim that her decapitated head was left outside of the Mariamman temple she used to run.

A 24-year-old accused in the case, Maruthu, had surrendered himself. Maruthu’s accomplice and the second accused were nabbed by the police on Tuesday. A case has been registered under IPC 302 and sections under the Goondas Act.

The main accused Maruthu, owns the land on which the temple stands. Rajathi, who had been working at the temple for the last few years, was reportedly attacked when performing pooja inside the sanctum on Friday morning, according to police sources.

“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 Banu, the founder of Trans Rights Now Collective and a native of Thoothukudi, The News Minute reported. It was also been discovered that the two had been harassing her for the past year, sources said.

According to sources from Thoothukudi, Rajathi was in a relationship with Maruthu and recently they had a fallenout, following which Maruthu stopped visiting the temple.

“He and his brothers own the land where this temple is located. After they fell 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 five brothers also used to harass Rajathi and the trans women who would come 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,” an anonymous source said reported TNM.

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