Statement Expressing Concern over the Brutal Murder of Activist Anil Sadanandan

May 20, 2012


The Home Minister
Government of Kerala

We, the following human rights organizations and concerned individuals, express our shock and deep concern over the brutal murder of activist Mariya alias Anil Sadanandan. Mariya/Anil was a warm, vibrant and friendly person who was full of energy, and also one of the sexuality and gender rights activists coming out openly to the society about being transgender. Mariya/Anil was murdered at night on May 9, 2012 at home in Thankassery in Kollam district.

The 39 year old Mariya was deeply connected with the human rights issues of gender and sexuality minority groups in Kerala. While working at the Harbour Engineering Department of the Kerala State Government, Mariya/Anil was involved with the preparatory work of Queer Pride 2012, Kerala.

Sexuality and gender minorities, as a community braving the system of patriarchal capitalism, have faced various kinds of physical attacks for years from those who are not tolerant of diversities of gender expression or sexuality. This time, it has been brutal, and Mariya/Anil was found with a slit neck, stab wounds on the stomach, and chili powder sprinkled all over her body. We would like to bring to your attention and voice our anger over the growing tendency in Kerala to use brutal physical violence against expressions of diversity.

We are also concerned over the growing nature of “blame the victim” rhetoric used when such a ghastly event takes place.

We demand that the police conduct a thorough, phobia-free, and stigma-free investigation without further victimising sexual and gender minorities.

We condemn this brutal murder of Mariya Anil, call for the arrests of the real culprits and demand that the Indian State and Kerala especially should take proactive steps to ensure protection to all people with different genders and sexualities.

We also condemn all physical attacks on activists and call upon social organizations, activists and people’s movements to come out in a united manner against the politics of physical violence on activists in general.

Our Demands :

1. The brutal murder of Mariya/Anil should be promptly and accurately investigated in a process which is phobia and stigma free such that the real culprits are punished;
2. Kerala State Government should take active involvement to provide safety and protection to the gender and sexuality minorities to prevent all attacks on the community;
3. Social organization, activists, and people’s movements fighting for the rights of all oppressed people stand unitedly against the politics of physical violence used on a daily basis to oppress women, dalits, adivasis, working class, gender/sexuality minorities, religious minorities, Kashmiris, North-eastern and other communities in struggle;

Organisations endorsing the statement
DARSHAN, Ahmedabad
Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF), New Delhi
LesBiT, Bangalore
Moving Republic, Bangalore
Partners for Law in Development, New Delhi
Sanhati, Kolkata

Individuals endorsing the statement
K. Satchidanandan, Writer
Prof. Shivaji K Panikkar, Dean, School of Culture & Creative Expressions, Ambedkar University
Magline Peter
Saroop Dhruv, DARSHAN, Ahmedabad
Anandan, SEED, Alappuzha

Anivar Aravind , Moving Republic
Charu, LesBiT
Durga, LesBiT
Jisha Josh, Visual Search
K P Sasi, Visual Search
Kaveri R I, LesBiT
Neethu, Visual Search
Sumathi Murthy, LesBiT
Sunil Mohan, LesBiT
Dhirendra Panda, Common Concerns, Bhubaneswar
Nityanand Jayaraman, writer, Chennai
Shree Prakash, Activist, Indore
D.Gabriele, Activist, Madurai

Dr. Lena Ganesh
Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Lawyer cum activist
Meena R Menon, Activist & Writer
Saagar Gupta
Sukla Sen, Activist & Writer

New Delhi
Amit Agrawal
Ashley Tellis
Deepti, Saheli
G. Arunima, Women’s Studies Programme, SSS,JNU
Gayatri Nair, Research Scholar, JNU
Kavita Krishnan, National Secretary, All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA)
Lakshmi Premkumar, Programme for Social Action
Anil Tharayath Varghese, Programme for Social Action
Manas Ranjan
Ranjana Padhi
Sudipta, Research Scholar, JNU
Sumati, PhD student JNU
Wilfred Dcosta, Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF)
A. K. Mary, Anbalayam, Puducherry
V. V. Prakash, RVS, Puducherry
Virendra Vidrohi, Rajasthan
Mohammad Imran, Ringwood, N.J., USA
J Devika, Centre for Development Studies, Trivandrum
Babu Rao
Javed Iqbal, Journalist
P J Bahadur
Reshma Bharadwaj
& others