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Fire Kills 15 Transgender Indians in Delhi

Jim Burroway

November 23rd, 2011
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A fire killed fifteen members of the hijra community in Delhi on Sunday during a gathering to observe the Transgender Day of Remembrance. According to The Hindu:

The fire blazed through a makeshift tent where a large number of hijras had gathered to honour deceased friends.

The incident created panic among community members who had gathered for the ceremony. Several others who tried to escape were also injured.

“We stand together with more than 50 seriously injured hijras, families of deceased hijras and with the hijra community as a whole in this moment of deep sorrow. From media reports it is very clear that fire safety measures and emergency evacuation facilities were not adequate in the Delhi Municipal Corporation’s community hall, where more than 1,000 members of the transgender community had gathered as part of its community congregation,” said a joint statement issued by executive director of Sangama Manohar Elavarthi and State coordinator of the forum Mahesh Patil.

India TV News has more details:

“Most of those who died were prominent gurus. When parents shut their doors to a hijra child born in the family, it is these gurus who adopt them. They are like our parents. Many in my community have been orphaned,” Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, a transgender who recently participated in the fifth season of TV reality show ‘Big Boss’, said.

She said she will soon be visiting the injured admitted in the Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital here. The transgender-activist had said the purpose of her participation in the reality show was to highlight the cause of her community.



November 23rd, 2011 | LINK

They are the most outcast of the outcast; they are very much a family among themselves; and they are very, VERY much not to be messed with – you ignore them at your peril.

A great chapter about them is found in CITY OF DJINNS, A YEAR IN DELHI by William Dalrymple.

(I recommend the whole book, and just about anything Dalrymple writes about India.)

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