A busy road in Maligaon area of Kamrup (Metro) turned into a fighting ring on Friday as two transgender groups clashed. The violence so ugly that locals looked away as some members ran naked after getting their clothes torn in the melee. Even the police could do little initially to control the situation.
This clash was the culmination of a brewing tension between local transgender people and so-called railway transgender people, who mostly consist of members from other states.
Senior Advocate and Associate Vice-Chairperson of the State Transgender Board Swati Bidhan Baruah says, “Amid the lockdown when inter-district movements are restricted how did the transgender people from Shiliguri, Raiganj, Kolkata, Bihar, and Bangladesh came to Assam?” Baruah added, “Moreover they are not even real transgender people as most of them are fake and are occupying the place of business of the locals.”
In the video of the fight, one injured Julie can be heard saying that the other group was using knives during the altercation, which resulted in many injuries.
The turf war has been on for some time. On June 20th there was a similar fight following which a case got registered at the Bharalamukh police station.
OC of Maligaon police station, Upen Kalita says, “When we were alerted of the issue we immediately rushed to the spot and stopped the fight. We even took the injured for preliminary medical examination and took some of them home on our official vehicles as they were afraid that they might be attacked again.” However, no FIR’s were filed post the Friday violence. “I assured them that we would take the matter forward, but only after an FIR is filed. I still have no clue as to why no FIR’s have been registered till now,” says Kalita.
According to Baruah, about 2000 transgenders are registered in Guwahati and their main source of income comes from the donations of the city residents. The lockdown was difficult for many of them and now with the influx of transgenders from other states the situation has worsened.