The bodies of two trans women and their partner were found in two wells in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu on Friday morning (August 21), their murders having taken place “a few weeks ago”.
In the Palayankottai neighbourhood of Tirunelveli, the bodies of Anushka, 35, Bhavani, 34 and their partner Murugan, 38, were found packed into bags and stuffed into two wells near a bypass, police said.
The three lived in Narasinganallur near Suthamalli, according to friends who knew the trio well. They were part of a thriving trans community in the area and hoped to adopt a child.
Police have arrested three people, naming one suspect as Rishikesh, a Salem local who lives with a trans woman in Tirunelveli and knew Anushka personally.
According to officials, he had offered to help the trio adopt a child for 500,000 rupees (£5,000).
“After receiving the money, Rishikesh started avoiding [Muragan],” a police spokesperson said.
Desperation quickly mingled with paranoia, as Murugan began messaging Rishikesh as well Rishikesh’s sister on social media. The situation was intensified when Anushka demanded the money back, according to The New Indian Express.
Alarms were raised by friends after attempts to contact Anushka and Bhavani were met with silence.
Police said Rishikesh murdered Anushka first.
“With the help of [two] friends, Rishikesh dumped her body in a well near Palayamkottai,” they explained.
He later killed Bhavani and Murugan following a dispute over a friend of Rishikesh’s, police alleged.
“He put their bodies in sacks and dumped them in a nearby well, the murders occurred a few weeks ago.”
The bodies of the three victims were sent to the Tirunelveli Medical College hospital for postmortem examination on Friday. All three victims showed signs of strangulation, authorities said.