Hyderabad - Trans people unfortunately not only face issues from the system due to the inaccessibility of resources but also constant harassment from society. But what is one supposed to do if the people who have the responsibility to protect them deliberately choose not to do so? Hyderabad Police, for the past few months, have been allegedly attacking the online community YesWeExist for questioning the treatment of trans persons who were detained. This recently came under limelight as YesWeExist released emails and comments documenting for the cyber attacks.
In August, a group of trans people was detained in Hyderabad and subjected to physical and mental abuse. When YesWeExist, an online community highlighting queer issues, decided to report on it, they became victims of constant cyber-bullying, allegedly by the Hyderabad police themselves.
The Mooknayak talked to Jeet, co-founder of YesWeExist, about the grave situation. Talking about the months-long cyber-attacks, he said, “At the beginning, there were comments justifying the detainment, and as usual, we ignored them. We later checked and realized they were not being nasty as trolls usually are. On further investigation, we found that all of these accounts were only made 3-4 months prior, always defending the police and had 0 followers. After a while, all comments were gone.”
The community posted on X, “On investigating, we found that all of these comments were from profiles created between April-Aug 2023. Most of these accounts had 0 followers. They either had no tweets or some random motivational tweets, but all of them had replied to tweets that were critical of Hyderabad Police.”
“When we confronted one of these accounts, they immediately deleted their tweet. Today, when we looked back, all the tweets made by these fake accounts have been deleted, and the accounts are empty again. Few of them have recent tweets on other posts, justifying Hyd police actions.”
“Around the same time, we received an email from Twitter about @hydcitypolice falsely telling the company that we had violated the IT Act. Thankfully, Twitter did not believe these lies and did not delete our post that was critical of Hyderabad Police's unlawful arrests. During the same time frame, multiple attempts were made to hack our Twitter account. Although can't say with certainty that these attempts were made by the Hyderabad Police or its IT Cell, the timing of these cyber-attacks is certainly sus [suspicious].”
Opening about the emotional torture some queer people were subjected to, Jeet said, “A drive conducted in August 2023 by the Hyderabad police ended up detaining trans individuals alleging that they were involved in extortion and begging. After they were brought into the station, they were detained and forced to go through a ‘genital examination.’ As problematic as it is, the individuals were then forced into dressing up in the societally acceptable style of men’s clothing.” Through a social media post, YesWeExist said, “@hydcitypolice DCP @ChandanaDeepti claims that “real” trans persons are ones who have undergone surgery, others are “fake”. Her team has arrested 17 “fake” trans persons for extortion+beggary and sent them for a medical examination. @hydcitypolice said they’ll continue the drive.”
The individuals underwent a medical examination that proved the presence of prostate and male genitalia. While the idea of a “fake” trans person is problematic in itself, it also goes against the NALSA judgment of 2014, which encouraged self-identification of gender and stated biological sex and gender can be mutually exclusive. On top of it, the detainee’s videos were circulated by local media, outing them to their family and society without their consent.