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BBC News – Anger at ‘shameful’ India gay law January 23, 2006

Posted by qmediawatch in BBC News, Section 377.
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Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/01/11 15:33:02 GMT

India’s laws on homosexuality threaten human rights and encourage the spread of HIV, a leading rights watchdog has told the prime minister in a letter. Human Rights Watch wrote to Manmohan Singh after police in the northern city of Lucknow allegedly carried out a sting operation on gay men.

It accused the police of “shameful” harassment. Police said those arrested had engaged in “unnatural acts”. Homosexuality is illegal in India and can carry a 10-year sentence.

‘Internet links’

Human Rights Watch says that last week police officers in Lucknow posed as gays on a website, entrapping one man and forcing him to call others who were then arrested.

  Criminalisation of people most at risk of HIV infection may increase stigma and discrimination, ultimately fuelling the Aids epidemic
Denis Broun, UNAIDS

Scott Long, director of Human Rights Watch’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Programme, said: “Lucknow police have a shameful record of harassing gay men as well as non-governmental organisations that work with them.”They are able to do so because India’s government clings to the criminalisation of homosexual conduct, which only prevents people from coming forward for HIV/Aids testing, information and services.”

The United Nations’ Aids body, UNAids, also condemned the arrests.Denis Broun, UNAids India coordinator, said: “Criminalisation of people most at risk of HIV infection may increase stigma and discrimination, ultimately fuelling the Aids epidemic.” Lucknow police spokesman Ashutosh Pandey told Reuters those arrested had “established online internet links with gay groups outside the country too” and would not be released.

Dismissed petition

The 145-year-old colonial Indian Penal Code clearly describes a same-sex relationship as an “unnatural offence”. Many people in conservative India regard same-sex relationships as illegal or even blasphemous. In 2004, the Indian government opposed a legal petition that sought to legalise homosexuality – a petition the high court in Delhi dismissed.

The government argued that the abolition of the law dealing with what it termed as “unnatural sex acts” could result in an increase in delinquent behaviour.”While the right to respect for private and family life is undisputed, interference by public authority in the interest of public safety and protection of health and morals is equally permissible. This is precisely what the law does,” said a government affidavit.

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Girl attempts suicide over lesbian marriage January 11, 2006

Posted by qmediawatch in Lesbian, Suicides.
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http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1367750.cms

MEERUT: Chafed by her family’s opposition to her same sex marriage, an 18-year-old girl on Wednesday attempted suicide by consuming insecticide and was admitted at a nursing home in Kankerkhera.

The two, who have grown up in the same locality and known each other for several years, ‘solemnised’ the marriage at a Shiva temple in Kankerkhera after which the girl brought her 20-year-old ‘bride’ with ‘sindoor’ (vermillion) on her head to live in her Jawaharpuri house on Tuesday evening.

The family, however, disapproved of the union and sent the bride back to her house in Badam Mandi. The ‘groom’ was then locked inside a room and allegedly consumed some insecticide kept there.

She was rushed to a private nursing home where her stomach was flushed out. Doctors attending on her said she was out of danger but kept under observation.

The girl said at the nursing home that the two had made a choice and would continue to live together. She said they had been “living as husband and wife” for the last five years.

A probe had been ordered into the incident, District Magistrate Ram Krishan said. No police report had yet been filed in this connection, Senior Superintendent of Police Rajiv Ranjan Verma said.

“Prima facie, no case has been filed but we are seeking the legal opinion on the matter”. Affronted by the lesbian marriage, VHP and Shiv Sena activists staged a demonstration in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office.