Harassed lesbian couple ends life May 18, 2008Posted by qmediawatch in Lesbian, Suicides, Times of India.
Tags: Suicides, Suicides
Source : Times Of India, chennai
Harassed lesbian couple ends life
18 May 2008, 0227 hrs IST,TNN
CHENNAI: Two married women, who allegedly shared a lesbian relationship, committed suicide by setting themselves ablaze after their families tried to separate them. The police recovered the charred bodies of the women, who died hugging each other, from the residence of one of the women at Sathangadu, near Thiruvotriyur, on Saturday.
The incident came to light on Saturday morning when the family members noticed thick smoke emanating from the house, where the women stayed the previous night. They peeped through the window and were shocked to see the bodies lying as if they had died hugging each other.
Police identified the women as Christy Jayanthi Malar – 38 and Rukmani – 40
Malar and Rukmani studied in the same class at a Tondiarpet school. Malar got married to Chinappa Raj, a small-time biscuit seller, and lived in Sathangadu. Rukmani was married to Mohan and lived in Ernavur, near Sathangadu, when she met Malar again, 10 years ago. Rukmani later married Vijayan, a labourer, and shifted to Washermanpet. The classmates continued to see each other.
Sathangadu inspector A J Ravikumar, who registered the statements of the relatives, said the relationship had caused much consternation in both families. On Friday, Rukmani had gone to Malar’s house. Rukmani’s relatives went there and abused her. Malar’s relatives, too, shouted at her. The two women stayed together on Friday and set themselves afire early on Saturday.
One of the relatives said Rukmani was forced to move from Ernavur, near Malar’s place in Sathangadu, after the families came to know of their “unusual relationship.”
Despite the opposition from the relatives, the two women continued to meet when their husbands were out on work.
This infuriated the relatives. Rukmani got separated from her first husband, Mohan and her relatives got her married to another man, Vijayan, four years ago and they moved to Washermanpet, some five km away. This, the relatives thought, would help in keeping the two women friends away.
But that was not to be. They continued to meet, often at Malar’s house. On Friday morning, Rukmani went to Malar’s house after their husbands had left for work. Not finding Rukmani for a long time, her relatives started searching for her and finally found her in Malar’s house. In front of several people, they abused her for having a “physical relationship” with Malar, whose family members also started shouting at the two friends.
“Around midnight, they poured kerosene on their body and set themselves on fire. They appear to have hugged each other during the final moments of their life,” an investigation officer who inspected the scene said.
Based on a complaint by Rukmani’s elder sister Padmavathy, Sathangadu police have registered a case and further investigations are on. The case has been handed over to the revenue divisional officer (RDO), as Rukmani died within seven years of her marriage with Vijayan.
“We will proceed with the case after getting the RDO’s report,” a senior police officer said.
Reacting to the incident, lawyer and activist Sudha Ramalingam said it was time Section 377 of IPC (unnatural offence) was scrapped. “We have reached a stage where one has to accept relationships which are not termed normal. Everyone has the right, especially two consenting adults, to choose their way of life,” she said. All India Democratic Women’s Association leader Vasuki said suicides are not a solution to any problem. “Same sex relationships are coming to the fore these days, and we do not have a coping mechanism in place,” she told The Times of India.
Vasanthi Devi, former Chairperson, State Women’s Commission, said, “In India, same sex relationships are not in any way accepted, and even talking about it is considered taboo. Since it is perceived to be unnatural and unacceptable, a lot of sensitivity is required in handling the issue. Sadly, counselling is virtually unknown in our society, be it for students or adults. If we had counsellors to guide, any number of tragedies can be avoided.”