‘Tantrik’ kills lesbian after promise to change her gender, held in UP - Hindustan Times
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‘Tantrik’ kills lesbian in Uttar Pradesh after promise to change her gender, arrested

Jun 21, 2023 08:03 AM IST

Poonam Kumari, a resident of Shahjahanpur, was allegedly lured by the tantrik, identified as Ram Niwas, with the promise of changing her gender, police added.

A local occultist or tantrik from Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri district allegedly hacked to death a 27-year-old woman from Shahjahanpur who was in a relationship with another woman she met in college, police said on Tuesday.

Police said Kumari was called for the alleged ritual and left her house – roughly 50km away from Lakhimpur Kheri – on April 18.(Representational Photo (Getty Images/iStockphoto) )
Police said Kumari was called for the alleged ritual and left her house – roughly 50km away from Lakhimpur Kheri – on April 18.(Representational Photo (Getty Images/iStockphoto) )

Poonam Kumari, a resident of Shahjahanpur, was allegedly lured by the tantrik, identified as Ram Niwas, with the promise of changing her gender, police added.

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Kumari and her 25-year-old partner, Preeti Sagar, who lived in Lakhimpur Kheri, met while pursuing a bachelor of education degree and were in a relationship for a few months, said Shahjahanpur’s additional superintendent of police (ASP) city, Sudhir Jaiswal. “The Lakhimpur Kheri woman’s reluctance in getting married to a man despite her family’s multiple efforts, revealed her relationship status, and invited opposition from both the families who feared social stigma,” he added.

Read: Rajasthan: Occultist arrested for raping woman on pretext of curing ‘black magic’

Police have arrested Sagar under several charges, including murder and criminal conspiracy.

Lakhimpur Kheri’s Mohammadi police station in-charge, Amber Singh, said the occultist was in touch with Sagar’s mother and told her that changing Kumari’s gender could help her get married to Sagar.

He said Kumari was called for the alleged ritual and left her house – roughly 50km away from Lakhimpur Kheri – on April 18. She was reported missing by her brother Parvinder Kumar on April 26. “The police came to know about Preeti Sagar when they scanned the victim’s call details and discovered they both had been talking over phone for long durations,” said Jaiswal.

The occultist has been taken into police custody. “He confessed to having strangulated Kumari after calling her at a deserted place on the pretext of performing a ritual to change her gender.”

Niwas fled after disposing of the body on the banks of the Gomti in a forested area, the ASP said. Police recovered 11 bones from near Sagar’s house and have sent it for forensic examination.

In the FIR, Kumar accused Sagar, her mother Urmila and Niwas of murdering his sister.

Read: Assam: Woman escapes human sacrifice, case registered against Tantrik

A police officer said the FIR was lodged under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 302 (murder), 120-B (criminal conspiracy), and 201 (concealing body after crime).

The sordid saga underlines the plight of same-sex couples in India today and shows that despite decriminalisation of same-sex relationships, social stigma continued to dog such unions. Only a concerted social push to dispel such bias and persistent police action against such unscientific practices can mitigate this harm.

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