Police Unearth Cross-Dresser Crime Racket, Promise Crackdown
DECCAN CHRONICLE | Syed Omar Farooq
HYDERABAD: The police unearthed an interstate cross-dressing racket, wherein unemployed men are lured into posing as transgender persons to make a quick buck and are later subject to cosmetic surgeries to engage them in prostitution rackets of unnatural sex.
The findings follow the arrest of 19 members of an interstate cross-dressing gang, after the members were found to be harassing commuters at various city junctions, demanding money by assaulting and misbehaving with them.
The police said that those refusing to pay these cross-dressers are subject to harrowing experiences, like spitting on their faces, desecrating their vehicles and sometimes, even grabbing money forcefully.
Ramkumar a techie, who faced harassment, said: "A few days back, I was returning home late with my wife Pavani, when five persons dressed in sarees stopped us near JBS. One of them demanded Rs 3,000 and when I refused, they abused me. One of them grabbed my keys and mobile phone, and they allowed me to leave only after I paid then Rs 2,000. My wife was shocked on being subject to such treatment."
Shops, especially those selling high-end clothing or jewellery, are not spared either.
"They are creating nuisance by entering our shops and demanding Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 every week. If we refuse, they pose vulgarly and start undressing, embarrassing our customers, due to which we are forced to negotiate and give them money," said Sumit Agrawal, a jewellery shop owner.
North Zone DCP Chandana Deepti said in a press meet on Saturday that the cross-dressers were found impersonating transgender persons and extorting gullible commuters at traffic signals.
Identifying the organiser of the racket as Rajesh Yadav of Bihar, Deepti said that he is luring unemployed youth into organised crime. "Our teams are taking this menace very seriously. This is just the beginning. We will go deep into organised crime and ensure that the common man is not victimised," Deepti said.
"We have been receiving many complaints against these gangs involved in illegal activities during the nights. I urge the public to immediately inform the local police if such activity comes to their notice. Our officials will take stern action," the DCP said.
Explaining the modus operandi of the criminals, the police said that the organisers recruit unemployed men from multiple states, promising them a chance to make money, following which they are made to cross-dress and extort commuters.
In the second stage, the organisers inject the cross-dressers with silicone to reshape their bodies to look more woman-like and subject them to unnatural sex, forcing them into prostitution.
Later, the organisers also subject their recruits to surgeries for breast implants, which have been tracked to Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, the police said.
A police official, requesting anonymity said that the cross-dressers, for the past four years, developed contacts with habitual offenders, such as mobile snatchers, ganja addicts and other petty criminals, vastly spreading their network in the twin cities.
"They operate only during late nights in Gachibowli, Kondapur, Military Dairy Farms, Jubilee Hills, Krishna Nagar, Hayathnagar, Dilsukhnagar, SR Nagar, Uppal, Bowenpally Paradise Junction, Panjagutta Junction, Ameerpet, Madhapur and Secunderabad railway station," the official said.
Further, the police said they select under-construction buildings and isolated places, where they bring customers to perform unnatural sex. They mainly target bachelors, hotel workers, auto drivers and businessmen. "Some of them also collect the amount from the customer and vanish in their autorickshaws, while police personnel counsel victims against engaging in unnatural sex," the official said.
The police said that the 19 who were arrested were booked in cases of extortion, public nuisance, wrongful restraint, and cheating by impersonation, under sections 419, 420, 384, 341, 240 and 34 of the IPC were filed across four police stations. They were sent for medical examination and produced in court.
Transgender community faces unwarranted heat
Unemployed men posing cross-dressing and posing as transgender persons is causing problems for members of the community, who say they are subjected to unfair treatment due to impostors engaging in organised crime.
They said that despite multiple organised gangs engaging in this mode of crime, there has been no action from civic authorities, the police or other government bodies to curb the menace.
"Our hijras, for the past several months, have been requesting these impersonators not to involve pose as hijras. It's affecting our reputed image in society. Instead, they have several times attacked people from our community," said Anita, a transgender leader, referred to as ‘sarder’, said.
"People of our community never go on roads and demand money from anybody. We have a very different lifestyle and an image for generations in the society. Just because of these bogus criminals and illegal activities, people of our community are being blamed," Anita said.
Rangamani, another transgender person, of Madina, said: "By birth, we are hijras. Since Nizam’s time, we have been recognised by businessmen from Rajasthan, Gujarat and Telangana, who invite us to marriages, cradle ceremonies or other auspicious occasions. They respect us and take our blessings and we take whatever they give. We live a disciplined life with dignity."
"As soon as I came to know about these fake cross-dressers, I informed our ‘sarder’ and we will lodge a complaint against these people who are using our identity and trying to destroy our image in society," Rangamani said.
The police said that rising incidents of looting are causing concern and that they will crack down on those engaging in this crime. "This mafia of cross-dressers, for the past four years, has been multiplying and is spreading its network in organised crimes in twin cities. They are not sparing the shopkeepers, pedestrians, travellers, commuters," a police official said.