Mutilated body of missing trans person found hidden in killer’s home

Lit candles in the colours of the trans Pride flag

A man has been arrested for the murder of a trans woman in India, after a piece of her body was found in his home.

Warning: this story contains graphic content. 

Zoya Kinnar, a trans woman in the city of Indore, India, had been missing since Sunday (28 August), according to the IANS news service. 

Parts of her mutilated body were discovered on Tuesday (29 August), and on Thursday (1 September), police said officers had arrested a man named Noor Mohammad for her murder.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Sampat Upadhyay said that Mohammad had been questioned by police based after a part of Kinnar’s body was discovered at his house.

Upadhyay said that Mohammad had befriended Kinnar on social media in the hope of having a sexual relationship with her, and had invited her to his house.

But when he discovered that she was transgender, he got “furious and hit Zoya badly”, before strangling her to death.

He “cut Zoya’s body into pieces” before attempting to dispose of them in various locations. But before he could completely dispose of her body, he was identified by police based on CCTV evidence.

LGBTQ+ rights have advanced in India over the last decade, including the decriminalisation of gay sex in 2018, the 2014 Supreme Court decision in National Legal Services Authority v Union of India, which ruled that discrimination based on gender identity was unconstitutional and allowed trans folk to legally register as a “third gender”, and the banning of conversion therapy in 2021.

However, there is much further to go before LGBTQ+ people in India have true legal and social equality.

The country does not recognise same-sex marriage or joint adoption by same-sex parents, and LGBTQ+ people are not able to serve openly in the military.

Stigma relating to queer identities is widespread, with one 2018 study showing that a third of gay men in India are married to women, and a 2021 study revealing that one in five people believe that same-sex couples “should not be allowed to marry or obtain any kind of legal recognition”.