From the video clip which can be considered as Tara's dying declaration it is clear that the police abetted her to self-immolation. She is heard saying in the video that the police asked her to go and commit suicide. The transgender community in Chennai refuses to buy the police version that Tara had immolated herself following an altercation after police seized her vehicle and brought it to the police station, the victim’s friends claim that she had been assaulted and later set on fire by the police.
Members of the transgender community in Chennai staged protests on Thursday alleging police brutality against Tara (28), a resident of Choolaimedu, found with 95 per cent burns outside the Pondy Bazaar police station early on November 9.
She succumbed to third-degree burns at Kilpauk Medical College Hospital later.
Tara, a transwoman, was picked up by police patrol party around 5 am yesterday and her scooter was confiscated. According to police, Tara then came to the police station in an inebriated condition and indulged in an argument with the SHO. Later, she returned to the station with a can of petrol and set herself on fire, a theory the transgender community and Tara’s friends refuse to believe.
NaradaNews.com is in possession of an exclusive video which could be considered as her dying declaration, in which Tara is heard saying that police asked her to go and commit suicide which made her pour petrol on herself. She also says that the police had harassed her after confiscating the vehicle and mobile phone.
According to Angel Glady, one of Tara’s friends and a transgender activist, Tara had gone to recharge her phone at a 24-hour shop on Habibullah Road around 4 am. Police picked her up accusing her of soliciting for sex work. When Tara argued, they took her to the police station for questioning, where they allegedly assaulted her. Around 5 am, Tara called two of her friends from the station and asked them to come there. The friends, who came looking for Tara, found her lying in the compound of the police station severely burnt. They immediately rushed her to the Kilpauk Medical College Hospital, where she died around 10 in the morning.
Tara’s friends and rights activists doubt the police version of the chain of events that led to Tara’s death. They asked where did Tara get petrol from to immolate herself when her vehicle keys had been confiscated. According to them, the police is yet to show them the CCTV footage of Tara’s alleged self-immolation. They have started an online campaign #JusticeForTara to reach out to more people.