Anil Sadanandan, aka Sweet Maria, was Kerala’s most famous transgender activist.
Anil Sadanandan, aka Sweet Maria, was Kerala’s most famous transgender activist. It was therefore ironical that her murder went largely unnoticed—as it coincided with the murder of a former CPM member, which hogged the headlines. Sweet Maria was found neck slit, stabbed in the stomach and chilli powder sprinkled all over her body. Four persons have been arrested. The investigating team says one of them had physical relations with Sweet Maria, and killed her because he suspected her to be HIV+. “The accused was told by someone else that Anil had been living with HIV. It prompted him to take revenge on Anil,” says Inspector V Sugathan, who is heading the probe. The accused later tested negative for HIV. Sweet Maria’s friends and activists do not buy this theory. The police are also looking at other angles, like moral policing and honour killing. Sweet Maria had no hesitation in announcing her sexuality publicly but the media was reluctant to do so. Some local newspapers only reported that ‘an employee of harbor engineering department was killed’ with no context to who she was. n