Four men, including a 16-year-old, were arrested Friday (26 February) for the brutal killing of a trans person, Surya Pujari, in northern Mumbai, India.
Pujari, regarded as a trans community leader in the sleepy Malad suburb, was slain 4:30pm Wednesday (24 February) outside the Roomaniya Hotel.
According to Bangur Nagar Police, a group of men jumped Pujari outside the business. A struggle ensued, during which one of the assailants grabbed a knife and slit their neck, the Hindustan Times newspaper reported.
Witnesses poured out onto the scene, hearing Pujari’s screams for help as they fought the gang off. The suspects fled as passers-by rushed them to a local hospital but they passed away on arrival.
“The murder seems premeditated as Surya’s daily activities were known to the killers,” investigators said at the time. Noting that Pujari’s valuables, including their wallet and jewellery, had been left untouched.
Men ‘tried killing Surya Pujari three to four times over personal enmity’, police say
Rajesh Yadav, 23, Vinay Yadav, 22, and Dheeraj Vishwakarma, 20, alongside a 16-year-old were arrested by authorities.
The four had fled the area after the killing, switching off their mobile phones, but police identified and tracked them down based on local survivance footage and witness statements.
The men, the police said, had been sparring with Surya Pujari, their neighbour, in which the victim allegedly stirred up fights with the suspects daily. The spats, they said, were often petty.
Police nabbed the men after a sting operation, after which the men confessed to the killing, Vishal Thakur, deputy commissioner of Police Zone-12, told reporters.
“We arrested four persons who later confessed to the crime,” he explained. “It was revealed that they had tried killing the victim three to four times earlier over personal enmity but did not succeed.
“A case has been registered against them.
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“They said they were Surya’s neighbours in Prem Nagar and used to get intimidated by Surya every day,” a spokesperson for the force said.
“Surya, who was the head of the transgender community in Malad, allegedly used to threaten them and others in the locality.”