“As per the autopsy report Vaisali had consumed cow dung powder mixed with alcohol. She was suffering from AIDS and also had symptoms of alcoholism. She was depressed over some issue and took her own life,” said Kanagasundaram, Inspector, Thudiyalur Police Station.
Vaisali was found dead at her residence in Kavundampalayam on Monday. She was rushed to Coimbatore Medical College Hospital where she was declared brought dead. Some leaders of Amutha Surabhi Transgender Welfare Association, a district level group formed to initiate measures for the well being of transgenders also claimed that Vaisali seemed to have taken the decision in a depressed state after a quarrel with her companions. Vaisali hailed from Coimbatore but used to shuttle between Coimbatore and Pollachi for the last five years.
“We deal with lot of social and personal issues on a daily basis but it seems this incident was caused due to some personal issues,” said Janakiamma, Secretary, Amutha Surabhi Transgender Welfare Association.
Vaisali’s last rites were performed at Athupalam crematorium on Tuesday afternoon amidst a group of transgenders and her companions from Kavundampalayam and Thudiyalur. Though her biological parents came to the spot, they just had a last glance at her lifeless body and left immediately. “As far as transgenders are concerned we have only ourselves for support. All of us have severed our ties with our family members,” Janakiamma added.
According to Padmini, another transgender from Thudiyalur, apart from social stigma, several transgenders are forced to commit suicide due to exploitation from their male companions who are often referred to as ‘Panthis’. Often, some male companions exploit them for a while and later abandon them pushing them into deep depression.
Padmini, a dance instructor who has won a national level beauty pageant for transgenders in 2009 also expressed similar sentiments.
A Sankaranarayanan, a social activist involved in the welfare of transgenders through his voluntary organisation , Native Medicare Charitable Trust also confirmed that there have been numerous incidents indicating that male companions often lead members of transgender community to suicide. But since transgenders often live in close packed groups, most incidents go unreported.