2019 Backstory: How I saved a Kochi transwoman from a goon

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Editor's note: Backstory is Onmanorama's special year-ender video series. Here, our reporters recall their memorable experiences in 2019. Watch all videos here.

In July 2019, I came to know about a dastardly goon attack on transwoman Thara Prasad in Kochi.

When I asked her about the attack, she told me that she would be murdered soon like Maria, Gouri and Shalu.

With the statement, Thara, in fact, helped me open the lid on the same-style transgender murders in Kerala.

Transwomen Maria, Gauri and Shalu had been murdered in the last seven years in different parts of Kerala.

35-year-old transwoman Shalu was found dead in Kozhikode on April 1, 2019. 28-year-old Gauri. 28-year-old Gauri from Tamil Nadu was found dead under a bush near St Xavier's College on August 16, 2017. 35-year-old Sweet Maria was found murdered under mysterious circumstances in her rented room in Kollam in November 2012.

My research opened a pandora's box.

I could find uncanny similarities among the three murders. The circumstances, time and style of murders were the same.

All the three were strangled to death, their neck or other body parts were slit with sharp weapons and the bodies were abandoned in public places.

I published the story on July 17. It laid bare threats to Thara Prasad, the police inaction and the similarities among the three murders.

The story made a huge impact.

Ernakulam district collector took note of the story. The police swung into action and arrested Badusha in just 24 hours.

The same day, I got a call from Thara. “I am living now only because of your report. Thank you so much for saving my life.”

I felt really happy. It was quite gratifying to help the transgender community that has been facing attacks from the anti-social elements.

That is why the story remains so close to my heart.

(This story was first published on December 29, 2019.)