Transgender woman Sneha K, died Tuesday evening from burns apparently inflicted by self-immolation at her home in the Samajwadi colony in Thottada, Kannur, India.
Sneha made history this year as a first-time transgender candidate, one of those that made history shattering India’s lavender ceilings. But her untold story is that she was also a passionate activist in the farmers’ protests.
Police told the Hindu that the initial investigation indicated her death was a suicide, more details would be revealed after further investigation.
Social activist and environmentalist Vinod Payyada, expressing his grief saying that she was in forefront of the farmers’ protest. “Her demise is an unfortunate incident,” he added. Thousands of farmers have taken their lives in a similar fashion to bring attention to their desperate plight.
“I have been living in the colony for several years,” said Sneha K during a December 2020 interview. “I know the people here and they know me,” said Sneha. She said in every election, candidates from various parties visit the colony and make promises to the residents.”
“However, nothing substantial has been done in Kizhunna so far. The roads are in pathetic condition, there is severe water scarcity especially during summer, and the elderly and other deserving groups are being denied pension. People would like a change so that development, in its true sense, takes place here. Change is needed so that people get to enjoy the benefits of local self-governance,” said Sneha.
She said she has been campaigning hard with some supporters since the day she filed her nomination papers. “I am getting people’s love and consideration wherever I go. People are complaining about the lack of streetlights and a dispensary here,” she said.
She alleged that during the early days of the pandemic, residents of the colony were seen as a “wretched lot by all” and even government officials did not care about their problems. “Whether I win or lose is another matter. Whatever happens, I will work with the people of Kizhunna,” she said.
Sneha K, who ran in Kizhunna, ward 36, died on the way to the hospital. Her body is kept at the Kannur Government Medical College Hospital. The incident took place on Tuesday evening.
The Farmers protests were up to now kept from outside attention by Modi sponsored internet blackouts. Already stricken by a fragmented regulatory system the Modi government is bent on making it worse for farmers and more profitable for unscrupulous corporate profiteers.
International pop star Rihanna on Tuesday extended her support to the farmers protesting on the outskirts of Delhi against the centre’s agricultural laws, condemning the internet shutdown aimed at crippling the movement. “Why aren’t we talking about this?! #FarmersProtest,” tweeted the ‘Don’t Stop The Music’ singer, who has more than 100 million followers on Twitter, along with a news article about the internet blockade.