India: Kidnap fears as India’s only transgender political candidate goes missing
November 29, 2018, 4:07 am
The only transgender candidate in state elections in southern India has gone missing, and there are fears she was kidnapped on her second day of campaigning.
Chandramukhi Muvvala is an activist for trans advocacy group Telangana Hijra Intersex Transgender Samiti
Trans people, or hijras, make up 2 million people, but are often shunned
Colleagues fear violence has been levelled at Ms Muvvala
Chandramukhi Muvvala disappeared minutes after she left her one-room home on Tuesday morning in an informal settlement in Hyderabad, capital of Telangana state, city police said.
“We have registered a complaint of missing person. We are trying to trace her,” investigating officer Kanneboina Uday said.
Ms Muvvala is an activist with the Telangana Hijra Intersex Transgender Samiti, a local advocacy group for hijras Â— or transgender women Â— which campaigns against transphobic violence.
India has about 2 million transgender people, according to the 2011 census.
Although the Supreme Court ruled in 2014 that transgender people have equal rights under the law, they are often shunned and many survive through begging or sex work.
“We are very worried about her safety,” said Bittu Karthik, a member of Telangana Hijra Intersex Transgender Samiti.
“There is [a] disproportionate amount of violence against transgender people and as an electoral candidate, we fear physical violence can be used.”
The police said they had deployed special teams to trace Ms Muvvala after a local court ordered them to produce her in court by Thursday morning (local time).
The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, a New Delhi-based advocacy group, said it was worried about speculation Ms Muvvala had been kidnapped.
“If fears of Chandramukhi’s kidnapping are well-founded, this is a serious attack on the right of Indian citizens to safety and security, as well as the welfare of the already-fragile transgender community,” it said.
“The manner in which this case is handled will either serve to strengthen or weaken the trust the Indian LGBTIQ community has in the state.”