by Rex Wockner
Police in Bangalore, India, arrested more than 40 transgender people and GLBT activists, and mistreated several of them Oct. 20, Human Rights Watch reported.
The events began with the arrests of five “hijras” (transgender people, intersex people and eunuchs who have no precise corollary in Western cultures).
When five activists from the Bangalore sexual-minorities organization Sangama then went to the Girinagar police station to assist the hijras, the activists were sent to a second police station where they were beaten and kicked. They were then returned to the first station, where two of the activists were sexually abused, HRW said. The five were charged with “unlawful assembly” and “obstructing a public servant,” and jailed.
Later, about 150 activists staged a protest outside the second police station. Six activists who entered the police station were arrested, beaten and sexually harassed, HRW said.
After that, police targeted the remainder of the group outside, beating the individuals with batons and arresting 31. The activists were kept in a van for seven hours and were not fed or allowed to use a toilet for 18 hours, HRW said.
All arrestees appeared before magistrates on Oct. 21 and 22 and were released. But some still face charges ranging from extortion (in the case of the hijras) to unlawful assembly and rioting, HRW said.
Bangalore, one of India’s most modern metropolises, is the nation’s third-largest and fastest-growing city. It is nicknamed the Silicon Valley of India.