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Health Minister – Harsh vardhan – Government should protect gay rights

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan. File Photo
The HinduHealth Minister Harsh Vardhan. File Photo

The BJP had supported the SC judgment which upheld the validity of Section 377 of IPC

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday batted for “human rights” of gays and said it was the government’s job to protect their rights.

“Everybody, including gays, has human rights. It is the job of the government to protect their rights,” he said on the sidelines of an event. He, however, declined to make further comments when asked to explain his position as his party, BJP, had supported the Supreme Court judgment which had upheld the validity of Section 377 of IPC, criminalising sex among homosexuals.

BJP, which was in opposition when the Supreme Court judgement came last year, had said it was for the government to decide the next course of action over the matter, and the party would take a position depending on the official move. The SC is at present hearing a curative petition on the matter.

Senior BJP leaders have spoken in different voices over the issue and the then party president Rajnath Singh had termed gay sex “unnatural“.

Another senior leader and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had taken a more liberal position, saying he tended to agree more with the Delhi High Court order decriminalising gay sex, which was later overturned by the Apex Court.

 

Read more here- http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/government-should-protect-gay-rights-harsh-vardhan/article6220869.ece?homepage=true

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Why did UPA government sleep on decriminalisation of #Sec377

 

Kamayani Bali Mahabal aka Kracktivist

 

Why did UPA government sleep on decriminalisation of Sec 377

377

 

Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860, that criminalises gay sex has remained in the statute book for over 150 years. The Delhi High Court had simply asked Parliament to have a relook at it and till then had only decriminalised gay sex between consenting adults in private. Section 377 IPC was not struck down wholly.. Last year the  Supreme Court (SC) has also tossed the ball into Parliament’s court, but the interim 1elief the Delhi HC had granted has been denied. Its an interim relief since the interim period till Parliament should have chosen to amend the law ought not to have been more than a few months from July 2, 2009, when Sadly, the government chose not to act for more than four years. For any legislative business to be transacted, it is for the government of the day to swing into action. Reflecting complete policy paralysis, two wings of the government, the health ministry and the home ministry, took a diametrically conflicting stand on the issue.

The SC judgment reflects that a law officer of the government, on behalf of the ministry of home affairs, referred to the affidavit filed before the Delhi HC wherein the government had opposed decriminalisation of homosexuality and argued that in its 42nd report, the Law Commission had recommended retention of Section 377 IPC because societal disapproval thereof was very strong.It was categorically argued by the government’s law officer that the legislature had decided not to delete it and it was not for the court to import extraordinary moral values and thrust them on society.

The prime reasoning reflected in the judgement of the apex court is flawed. The SC’s observation that only a fraction of the country’s population constitutes lesbians, gays, bisexuals or transgenders and, therefore, Section 377 cannot be declared ultra vires of constitutional provisions is contrary to basic tenets of minority rights. UPA government  rushed to trash the Supreme Court’s judgment upholding the validity of Section 377 IPC but have failed to act on the Law Commission’s 13-year-old recommendation for its deletion.

The law commission recommended changes in Section 375, IPC and scrapping of Section 377.  “In the light of the change effected by us in Section 375 IPC, we are of the opinion that Section 377 deserves to be deleted. After the changes effected by us in the preceding provisions (Sections 375 to 376E), the only content left in Section 377 is having voluntary carnal intercourse with any animal. We may leave such persons to their just deserts.”

Why did UPA government chose not touch Section 377, despite a bunch of petitions against it pending in the Delhi High Court and later in the Supreme Court for 12 years. ? The Commission recommendation gathered dust in the law ministry, there was a slew of amendments carried out by the government to make provisions in IPC more stringent in the aftermath of the December 16 fatal gangrape case and focused on sexual offences, it did not change anything in Section 377. That was evidently the will of Parliament.

It ‘s clear the Government acknowledges the perils of contradictions and opposition not only from religious organisations and opposition parties but also from within its own party and allies, and with the next general election near, does not want to rake up another hullabaloo.After the adoption of the IPC in 1950, around 3 0 amendments have been made to the statute, the most recent being in 2013 which specifically deals with sexual offences, a category to which Section 377 belongs.

The UPA government wants to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds, and that is why it is urging the court to decide. Parliament has often criticised the Supreme Court for “judicial overreach” and “judicial law making”. And yes, under the Constitution, the right place to make or change a law is Parliament; Section 377 should be no exception.

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AAP Silent On Decriminalizing Homosexuality #Sec377 #LGBT

AP takes care of aam aadmi, woos middle class, business Party Silent On Decriminalizing Gay Sex TIMES NEWS NETWORK

New Delhi: In what appears to be a bid to reassure the middle classes and business, AAP’s manifesto promises simplification of trade procedures, steps to contain inflation and zero tolerance for cross-border terrorism while addressing its core interests.
The manifesto released on Thursday is a careful balancing act. While opposing terrorism, it also says terror cases against Muslim youth should be disposed of in six months. It advocates a review of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act but does not outright commit to its repeal.
The social balancing is seen in the AAP manifesto’s silence on decriminalizing sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex, despite the party’s previous pronouncements in support of gay sex.
As with its position that khaps are informal social institutions (while clarifying that it does not support criminal acts), the decision to drop decriminalization of gay sex seems intended to keep on the right side of social conservatives, particularly in rural areas. AAP sources said decriminalization of gay sex has not been included as the party has clarified its support to the issue previously.
The manifesto indicated that the party is trying not to write off the middle class vote in the wake of its controversial stint in office and promised a series of policy initiatives for governance. It said it would scrap DU’s four-year undergraduate programme and would protect the interests of women and Muslim youth. It said it was in favour of lowering of age for legislators from 25 to 21 years.
AAP reiterated its fivepoint agenda to tackle corruption that include bringing Jan Lokpal bill, Swaraj bill, citizens charter, simplification of government procedures and use of technology. The party also outlined its vision of Swaraj or self-governance by which mohalla sabhas and gram sabhas would be responsible for development in their area.
The 26-page manifesto is the fledgling party’s pitch for the national stage, setting its policy stance on 33 issues including agriculture, business, defence, media and internal security. Putting it in the public domain, AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal said the manifesto was a “dynamic’’ document and would continue to evolve. The AAP leader said his party was “industry friendly” as creation of wealth was essential for overall development of the country but noted that it was against “crony capitalism”. TOUGH ON TERROR, HARD ON CORRUPTION
BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC REFORM
TRADE | Pro-business and anti-crony capitalism, simplify procedures, but oppose FDI in retail
AGRICULTURE Improve access to credit and insurance to farmers
SOCIAL SECURITY Plan for unorganized sector, removal of contractual jobs
POLICY AND ADMINISTRATIONCORRUPTION | Bring Jan Lokpal bill, Swaraj bill, citizens charter, simplify govt procedures
POLICE | Non-registration of FIR in serious case to be criminal offence, law and order to be separated from investigation
POLLS | Bring back black money, parties to be brought under RTI, right to recall and right to reject planned, lower age for contesting elections from 25 to 21 yrs
SECURITY AND EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
DEFENCE POLICY Transparency in defence procurement, enhancing infrastructure in border areas
FOREIGN POLICY | Zero tolerance for cross-border terrorism, reduce public hostilities among neighbours
INTERNAL SECURITY Review AFSPA, Kashmir an integral part of India, long term solution to Naxalite issue

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CPI-ML – pro -people Manifesto asks repeal of UAPA, #AFSPA, Sedition Law and #Sec377

 

CPIML Election Symbol

 ELECTION SYMBOL OF CPI ML 

 

Change Policies, Change the Regime, Ensure People’s Voice in Parliament!

Change Policies, Change the Regime, Ensure People’s Voice in Parliament!

 

–         CPI(ML)’s Appeal for Lok Sabha Elections 2014

 

Dear Citizens,

 

The Lok Sabha 2014 elections are being held at a time when the country is in a severe crisis. Two decades of pro-corporate, anti-people economic policies have resulted in steeply spiralling prices, hunger, joblessness, farmers’ suicides, and plunder of land and natural resources by corporations, leading to mega scams and forcible eviction of the poor. Education, health, nutritious food, housing and other necessities of a dignified life have all gone out of reach, even as Governments have washed their hands off responsibilities and left people to the mercy of the corporate-dominated market. People’s movements are faced with severe repression, communal and caste massacres go unpunished. Women are deprived of freedom, equality, and dignity. The fundamental interests and rights of the common people are being denied and truncated on every front.

 

The Congress-led UPA Government that has been in power for two successive terms is squarely responsible for this state of affairs. It had come to power in 2004 and again in 2009 promising to improve the lot of the common people, but did just the opposite. The people are therefore eagerly looking for an end to the corrupt rule of the Congress and the BJP is desperately trying to step into this vacuum. But going by the BJP’s track record at the Centre during 1998-2004 and in the states it has ruled, whether Gujarat and Chhattisgarh where it has been ruling for more than a decade, or Bihar and Jharkhand where it was in power till recently, choosing BJP in place of the Congress can only be like jumping from the frying pan into fire.

 

It is important to remember that in 2004 there were two big reasons for the BJP-led NDA’s stunning defeat. Firstly, the people were angry with the NDA Govt’s tall claims of ‘India Shining’, which was a cruel joke on farmers’ suicides, rising unemployment, steep prices and growing misery experienced by the people. And the other equally important reason was the 2002 Gujarat genocide presided over by the BJP government in the state led by none other than Narendra Modi, who is today declared as the prime ministerial nominee of the BJP.

 

The bid to foist Narendra Modi as India’s Prime Minister is backed not just by the Sangh parivar, but unmistakably enough also by all major corporate houses even as it enjoys the blessings of America as already indicated by several American overtures including the visit of Nancy Powell, US Ambassador in India, to Ahmedabad.

 

The hope for freedom from the all-pervasive crisis lies in the people’s struggles for an alternative! Clearly there is no readymade alternative; we have to build one through sustained democratic assertion of the people. In 2014, let us vote to change the economic policies that have brought us corruption and misery; let us vote to secure our rights and end repression! Let us vote to kick out the corrupt and anti-people forces, and send the forces of genuine struggle into Parliament!

 

CPI(ML)’s Charter for Change  

 

CPI(ML) has a glorious record of people’s struggles for transformation, and we reiterate our commitment that every MP elected from CPI(ML) will carry forward the people’s movement for the following Charter of Change.    

1.     Effect a pro-people shift in economic policies:

a)     Enact a new law to protect farmland and stop all private acquisition of forest land, coastal areas and traditional fishing zones

b)    Increased public investment in agriculture and all kinds of institutional support including debt-waivers to the crisis-ridden peasantry

c)     Greater emphasis on small and medium enterprises to strengthen domestic manufacturing

d)    No FDI in retail and strategic sectors, protection of all labour-intensive sectors from adverse foreign competition

e)    Stop privatisation of key infrastructure and financial sectors and bring key resources like oil and gas and minerals under public control

f)      Increase tax revenue by strengthening the system of corporate taxes and levying inheritance tax on the rich

g)     Increased public investment and health, education and scientific research

 

2.     Curbing price rise and improving the conditions of the toiling masses

a)     Prices of essential commodities and services must not be allowed to escalate beyond the reach of the common people

b)    Food Security Act must be strengthened to ensure monthly supply of at least 50 kg foodgrains for a family of five along with sugar, milk, pulses and edible oil

c)     Provisions of MNREGA must be expanded to guarantee at least 200 days of work at a minimum daily wage of Rs 300, municipal areas must also be brought within the purview of the Act

d)    BPL irregularities must be stopped – non tax-payers and landowners owning less than 5 acres of land must all be considered BPL for benefits meant for the poor

e)    Land ceiling should be lowered and standardised and land, tenancy and other pro-peasant agrarian reforms must be accomplished on war-footing and homestead land should be guaranteed for the labouring people in agriculture and plantation sectors

 

3.     Reorient Development Strategy to Guarantee People’s Rights and Protect Environment

a)     Reorient the strategy of development, making distributive justice, people’s rights and environmental sustainability its three core principles

b)    Stop forcible acquisition of land and return all acquired land that is lying unused to the original owners

c)     Stop all projects that violate environmental norms

d)    Stop nuclear projects and GM crops that pose a threat to public health and safety

e)    Ensure 24×7 supply of electricity at subsidised rates for rural and urban poor and for small enterprises, shops and agriculture

f)      Rural electrification

g)     Ensure quality education and healthcare for all, education up to 12thstandard must be free and imparted through the common school system

 

4.     Equal pay for equal work, regularisation of contract labour and increase in minimum wages

a)     Workers employed in work of perennial nature must be regularised, the principle of equal pay for equal work must be upheld in every field, women workers must get equal wages as their male counterparts,

b)    ASHA, Anganwadi, mid-day meal workers must be treated as regular employees with proper pay scales

c)     Minimum wages must be raised to Rs 15000 per month

 

5.     Guarantee People’s Rights in Every Sphere

a)     Right to food, shelter, health, education and work must all be incorporated into the Constitution as fundamental rights

b)    Educated unemployed youth must be given a minimum monthly allowance of Rs 5000 till they get proper employment

c)     Implement the recommendations of Sachar Committee and Ranganath Misra Commission to improve the conditions of Muslims and other minority communities

 

6.     Repeal of draconian, archaic and anti-people laws and Justice for all

a)     UAPA, AFSPA, Sedition Law and Section 377 must be revoked

b)    Operation Green Hunt and Salwa Judum must be stopped and all issues related to adivasi rights and development must be sorted out expeditiously

c)     SEZ Act 2005 and Electricity Act 2003 must be repealed

d)    Special Tribunals must be set up to make sure that the guilty of all caste massacres, communal riots, ethnic killings and extra-judicial killings are brought to book

e)    Prevention of SC/ST Atrocities Act must be strengthened and law enacted to stop racism and attacks on minorities and migrant workers

f)      Witch-hunt of Muslim and Adivasi youth must be stopped, trials must be expedited and those languishing in jail for years without conviction must be released and compensated for the damage caused to their life and reputation

 

7.     Women’s Rights and Freedom

a)     Secure, dignified, remunerative employment must be ensured for women

b)    Access to clean toilets for all women, in homes as well as in public spaces, and access to regular, safe public transport must be ensured

c)     One-stop, 24-hour crisis centres and safe shelters must be instituted in each police district for women survivors of violence

d)    Compensation and rehabilitation be ensured for survivors of rape and acid attacks

e)    Gender-sensitive police and prosecutorial procedures must be strictly followed, and the number of judges and courts expanded to ensure speedy justice in every case

f)      Women’s Reservation Bill pending in the Lok Sabha be enacted

g)     Code of Conduct be adopted to disqualify electoral candidates who have committed offences of gender-related violence, end misogynist comments and behaviour in the Lok Sabha, and ensure zero tolerance of moral policing by State/non-State actors

h)    Special Tribunals be set up to ensure justice in long-pending cases of custodial rapes  

 

8.     Federal Restructuring and Reorganisation of States

a)     Backward states and regions must be granted special status and provided with all kinds of institutional support to end regional disparity

b)    Set up Second States Reorganisation Commission for sympathetic and holistic consideration of various statehood demands

c)     Implement Article 244 A to ensure Autonomous State status for Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao districts

 

9.     Electoral, Legal and Police Reforms

a)     Introduce proportional representation in elections, stop corporate funding and ensure level playing field for all parties and contestants

b)    Strengthen RTI, enact Jan Lokpal legislation to provide for a powerful and autonomous anti-corruption watchdog, bringing all levels of the state including ministers, bureaucrats, the armed forces and the judiciary, corporate houses, media organisations and NGOs within its ambit

c)     Withdraw the controversial ‘Aadhar’ scheme and ‘cash transfer’ plans

d)    Policing must be thoroughly overhauled to stop human rights violations and atrocities on peaceful democratic activities and struggles

e)    The NIA and IB must be made accountable to Parliament and the operation of all kinds of security forces and intelligence agencies must follow the letter and spirit of the Constitution and the tenets of the rule of law

f)      The jail manual must be updated and strictly enforced, bails should be made the norm to stop overcrowding in jails and make sure that people do not spend years in jail without conviction

g)     Death penalty should be done away with, and life imprisonment declared as the highest degree of punishment

 

10.                         Reorient India’s Foreign Policy Ensuring Independence and Friendly Relations

a)     Indian foreign policy must be freed from the interests and priorities of US foreign policy

b)    India must have friendly relations and close cooperation with all neighbouring countries, big or small

c)     India must play a pro-active role to bring all perpetrators of war crimes to justice

d)    India must work relentlessly for removal of all foreign military bases in the world

 

Friends,

We appeal to you to vote for CPI(ML) candidates in the 2014 LS polls, to ensure that the voices of people’s resistance can resound in Parliament, and challenge the regime of plunder and corruption. Resist the devious design of the forces of corporate and communal fascism, and strengthen the democratic unity and struggles of the people by all means for a better tomorrow.

 

–         CPI(ML) Liberation

 

Fix Prices, Ensure Work, Ensure Full Wages for Work!

Change the Regime and Rule of Corruption and Plunder!

Down With Communal Poison, Ensure Peace and Justice!

Save Farmland, Agriculture, Farmers, End the Regime of Corporate Loot!

Half the Population Demands – Safety, Dignity, and Freedom! 

We Want Employment and Electricity, Rations and Housing, Not Liquor!

 

 

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India Elections – CPI-M asks for decriminalisation of Homosexuality #UID

CPI M  asks for decriminalisation of Sec 377  , remove death penalty and to stop implementation of AADHAAR in their manifesto

Flag of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

Flag of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Major Constitutional & Legislative Reforms
 Amend Article 3 of the Constitution to provide for the consent of the
state legislature concerned before a state is to be bifurcated or
reorganized by parliament.
 Amend the Constitution to make parliamentary approval mandatory
for any international treaty.
Repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and replace it with a
suitable law which provides a legal framework for the operation of
the armed forces without the draconian provisions.
 Amend Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code so that it does not
criminalize adult consensual relationships irrespective of sexual
orientation.
 Amend the Indian Penal Code and other statutes to remove the
death penalty from the statutes

 

AADHAAR

 Stop implementation of the Aadhaar project till it is approved by Parliament; initiating a privacy law and a data protection law to be passed by Parliament prior to implementation of Aadhaar

 Barring the use of Aadhaar in the provision of social services and reversing all decisions to make Aadhaar compulsory for the provision of any rights, economic and social services to citizens

 Constituting an independent high level expert panel for an appraisal of the technology of biometrics used in the project

 

Download the manifesto – click on the link 2014-manifesto-16LS

 

 

 

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Homophobia and Islamobphobia – The Jamaat e Islami Hind and the Supreme Court’s Decision on Section 377

377

JANUARY 29, 2014

Guest Post by Fahad Hashmi

[ YSupreme Court of India, dismissed the ‘review petition’ that had been filed with a plea to reverse the Supreme Court’s recent (December 2013) decision to uphold the constitutionality of Section 377 of the IPC. This decision effectively ‘re-criminalized’ Homosexuality in India and is a severe blow to human rights. Various religious groups, Hindu, Muslim and Christian had appealed to the Supreme Court to act against the rights and interests of homosexuals. In a sad instance of the erosion of  secular and democratic values, the Supreme Court has endorsed their view. The Jamaat -e-Islami Hind, a right wing, muslim fundamentalist organization that claims to speak for Indian Muslims has welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision. This post by Fahad Hashmi attacks the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind’s position on homosexuality and challenges its claim to speak in the name of muslims and their faith. We see it as an important contribution to the ongoing discussion on section 377 on Kafila ]

“There was once…a sad city, the saddest of cities, a city so ruinously sad that it had forgotten its name. 
In the north of the sad city stood mighty factories in which (so I’m told) sadness was actually manufactured, packaged and sent all over the world, which never seemed to get enough of it. Black smoke poured out of the chimneys of the sadness factories and hung over the city like bad news”.
(Haroun and Sea of Stories, Salman Rushdie)

It is one of the ironies of democracies across the world that minorities of all shades are always in the crosshairs of majoritarianism. This minority-majority is a function of numbers and power though this is not a thorough definition since we have had seen altered power equation of this binary. The apartheid South Africa is a case in point. For stating the obvious the strength of a democracy is a function of safety and rights that minorities enjoy in it. However, minorities on the whole are always drawing majority’s fire. On the subcontinent one could see this happening in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and of course India is not an exception.

 

Lately we are witnessing this hatred towards sexual minorities in India. Along with the majority, minorities have also tagged along in this endeavor of curbing people’s right. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s judgment on IPC 377, there is too much hullaballoo within the country as religious parties are too busy in doing tom tom over this judgment. As we know it, the judgment which has come of late has scraped the earlier one given by the Delhi High court on IPC 377, a colonial hand-me-down. In a nutshell, IPC 377 has been re-criminalized! This particular judgment is getting endorsement from a good number of religious parties. And one of them is Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) which is at the helm of the campaign, and working itself into self-righteous froth over the criminalization of IPC 377. It has been busy in organizing seminars and protests rallies against this self-perceived ‘immorality’ of homosexuality. One is at one’s wit end seeing this celebration over the judgment that curbs the legal rights of sexual minorities. Of all Muslim religious parties JIH appears to be more loyal than the king! How should one understand this kowtowing on JIH’s part?

The sole aim of Jamaat-e-Islami, a politico-religious party, wherever it exists, is to establish an Islamic state premised on a particular understanding of the Quran and the Islamic history. To put it another way, JIH seeks to bring theocracy or in Maududi’s word ‘theo-democracy’, a blend of religion and politics. The ideology of Jamaat, which is Maududi’s brainchild, rests on binary opposites of Islam and jahiliyya. In traditional parlance jahiliyya means a stage before the advent of Islam. By putting a political spin on this apolitical notion the Islamist ideologue has made jahiliyya an antagonistic category which is at loggerheads with Jamaat’s understanding of Islam. This ‘Islam’ is puritanical, literalist and closed having desperation for grabbing political power only. The ‘Islam versus jahiliyya paradigm’ is the Archimedean plane—one and only plane—through which Jamaat tries to comprehend and interpret the present times. This particular way of looking at the world makes all diversities of the contemporary world an enemy of its ideology. Since Islamism talks about Islam of the high church seeing things in ‘either-or’ terms so it is forced to put things into the either two boxes of Islam and jahiliyya. There is no ‘no man’s land’ in its scheme of interpretation and understanding of the scripture. Therefore, the presence of other planes in this rich and varied world is oddities in its grand narrative. Thus, recognition and tolerance are not in the genetic make-up of this ideology. This could be seen in the intellectual and ideological milieu that the Jamaat-e-Islami in Pakistan and Bangladesh has spawned over time which has been a constant source of production and perpetuation of intolerance, fanaticism and cruel patriarchy. One knows about Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan’s role in anti-Ahmadiya movement that triggered witch hunting of Qadyanis, and that has made them constitutionally an object of hatred. The Shahbag movement catapulted Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh (JIB) to ‘fame’ showing its antagonistic role in the country’s liberation struggle. The news about the violence that is being employed on minorities there by Islami Chatra Shibir has regularly been coming.
Since JIH has stopped its ideological pronouncement openly given the Hindutva juggernaut and communally charged environment of the country so this particular issue of homosexuality has given this party an opportunity to put forth its ideology to the outer world under the guise of ‘morality’, ‘eastern culture’ and ‘India being a religious country’. Therefore, the party is trying cashing in on people’s sentiments for getting approval of being a righteous party working for the betterment of Indian society, and thus a soft spot for itself. However, when it comes to Muslim Personal Law, JIH including All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and a string of Muslim organizations take recourse to the same constitution and constitutional morality which promises the minority its cultural, educational and other rights. For instance, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Shahbano case was perceived an intervention in the sacred realm as personal law, to these guys is premised on the divine principle and nobody is allowed to change even an iota in that realm. Slogans like ‘Islam in danger’, ‘personal law is our right’ etc. were being put forth. While using the idea of freedom, they join the chorus of those championing Muslim women’s right to wear scarf or hijab in France and other secular countries. These people eulogize activists and intellectuals, such as Arundhati Roy and Teesta Setalvad when they write against victimization of Muslims. But the same people go into a sulk when such activists or intellectuals criticize Muslim fundamentalism. What is the point in endorsing the judgment when it does not concern the community at all? The claims to any just claim for right has to be universal. It is sheer inconsistency of the stance where rights are denied to others that we claim for ourselves.

Since we are living in a democratic country therefore it possesses a constitution and this constitution ensures certain rights to its citizens including minorities to live their lives as per their cultural and religious world views. Sexual minorities, too, are supposed to get their share of right by the same logic and reason that has ensured religious minorities and other ethnic clans their rights. Getting carried away by theological impulse every time and trampling upon the rights of ‘unpopular’ minorities ought not to be trapping of other minorities. Are we supposed to rhyme with the majority on such issue as it marginalizes, humiliates and weakens other minorities? The obsession with hem line, neck line and sexualities of others is a conundrum that calls for an answer from the self-proclaimed guardians of the community!

It would not be wrong to say that curbing people’s right to choice and human freedom in the name of religion also sows the seeds of Islamophobia on religious groups’ part. Such proclamations tacitly imply that the religion possesses an innate proclivity to intolerance, violence and homophobia. The type of placard that has been used against LGBT’s rights by JIH’s Mumbai zone is nauseating, downright disgusting and morally untenable. Riding rough shod over people’s rights, and ramming ‘morality’ down people’s throat makes religious teaching a calculated affront on other’s life. These so called guardians of religion are themselves responsible for the islamophobia that they generate.

To add to this, the language that has been employed in the recent write-ups from within the community in support of collectively fighting this injustice of criminalization of homosexuality has its own problematic. A secular state should recognize the rights of its sexual minorities by ensuring its legal right to what the Supreme Court has termed ‘unnatural’ sexuality in the same way in which it recognizes the rights of its religious minorities. This simply means that all well meaning people ought to forge alliances and struggle together to ensure people’s rights, and the rights of all minorities, religious, or sexual. The language of patronage in which the necessity of extending support to LGBT has been articulated is tantamount to giving charity—unwillingly or willingly—which is pathetic and a sad commentary on our discretion. I would hasten to add that our struggle should be based upon human dignity, inclusion and universal ideas of justice.

Read more here — http://kafila.org/2014/01/29/homophobia-and-islamobphobia-the-jamaat-e-islami-hind-and-the-supreme-courts-decision-on-section-377-fahad-hashmi/

 

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Homosexuality is not a disease, psychiatrists say

English: Gender symbols, sexual orientation: h...

English: Gender symbols, sexual orientation: heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality. Česky: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

,TNN | Feb 7, 2014, 03.03 AM IST

 

 

 

MUMBAI: Homosexuality is not a mental illness or disease, the country’s psychiatrists said in a joint statement on Thursday.

The Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS), an umbrella body for psychiatrists across the country, said this in response to the furore over its former president Dr Indira Sharma’s statement on homosexuality last month.

Dr Sharma had said (TOI, January 19), “The manner in which homosexuals have brought the talk of sex to the roads makes people uncomfortable. It’s unnatural. Our society doesn’t talk about sex. Heterosexuals don’t talk about sex. It is a private matter.”

The lesbian-gay community had taken up the matter with the IPS. “Based on existing scientific evidence and good practice guidelines from the field of psychiatry, the Indian Psychiatric Society would like to state that there is no evidence to substantiate the belief that homosexuality is a mental illness or a disease,” said the statement by IPS president Dr T V Asokan and general secretary N N Raju.

The note added that the IPS would issue a detailed statement later. Dr Raju told TOI on Thursday that the majority had spoken. “Now that we have stated that homosexuality isn’t a mental illness, it’s no longer in the purview of psychiatrists,” he said, adding that views changed over time. “A few decades back, hypertension was considered a mental illness, and so was hyperthyroidism,” he said.

Dr Sharma, who heads the psychiatry department at Banaras Hindu University, wrote to TOI that she had given a talk on homosexuality at the IPS annual conference held in Pune in January. “I only said homosexuality is a social issue. Sexual orientation cannot be changed by enacting laws or by punitive measures. It has to come from within. The media has a responsibility to create awareness regarding society’s view on sexual orientation, whether it approves or disapproves it,” she said, adding that her comment was neutral.

Read more here – http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Homosexuality-is-not-a-disease-psychiatrists-say/articleshow/29965430.cms

 

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Sangh View on HomoSexuality and #Sec377 #LGBTQ

Why Article 377 be preserved
Anandshankar Pandya

 

RSS Flag

RSS Flag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The recent bold stand taken by the Supreme Court on gay sex rejecting UPA government’s review plea is a milestone in preserving the values of the country. The Court had earlier also upheld Article 377, which prescribes life sentence to homosexual couples calling it unnatural and a great crime.

 

The Homosexuals call Article 377 as violation of their fundamental rights. Hence the question arises, whether contacting AIDS through gay activities, engaging in prostitution, earning money through corruption or smoking and drinking are fundamental rights? In the name of democratic tolerance, West has been sowing the seeds of immoral sex and debauchery. There is saying ‘way to hall is paved with good intentions, this is what is happening today.

 

How long a society with such degraded fundamental rights can survive? India with its urdhvagami (rising up) sanskriti has survived for 5000 years when many great civilisations have gone to oblivion. Indian culture shows the path of eternal bliss instead of short term sensual pleasures. And this is the message of India to the world.

 

Fundamental rights are those which uplift mankind instead of degrading it. Many civilisations based on sensual pleasure are today nowhere in existence. In western countries the supreme aim of life is enjoying all the carnal pleasures to the maximum. They have no concept of self control (Atma Saiyam, and indriya nigrah) After all what is homosexuality. It is acquiring maximum pleasure in a sexual act. There is no love and no idealism. In the West each generation wants more and more sexual freedom, where wife swapping parties are eagerly sought after, people attending dance parties look for a one night partner. Should India imitate it?

 

People like LGBTS and others who want to have that sexual enjoyment facility in India, are working towards that end, with the result that dirty sex like rape is playing around in the country, with increasing rapidity. In India though kings kept many wives but for the common man one wife was always the norm. Hence in order to avoid any boredom in sex life of a couple Vatsyayan in his famous book Kamasutra, now being read in the West, has shown 84 postures in sexual activity for continuous and lively change in which no immorality is involved. Yet many such aberrations though tolerated are not part of Hinduism.

 

The majority country has rightly announced homosexuality an unnatural act. Even animals do not indulge in it. It is also immoral. Hence in many countries a marriage can be only between male and female only. Here a question arises that as in a same sex marriage one cannot procreate progeny they have to adopt a child from otherwise in old age, who is going to look after them. If everybody in the world goes for same sex marriage, no children will be born, hence this life style is against the plan of human existence.

 

Again a big drawback and anomaly of homosexuality is that it gives rise to a dangerous disease like AIDS and is an antithesis of family institution which in fact is the genesis of civilisation, and has produced great men like Buddha, Mahavira, Vivekananda, Ravindra-nath Tagore and many other noble persons around the world. Is this possible in a homosexual society? Hence it is obligatory to put a stop in further expansion of homosexuality. It is astonishing that 400 institutions are engaged in removing Article 377 but none is interested in eradicating drinking, smoking, prostitution etc. because this is an age of exuberant freedom of sex which is against the Hindu way of life in which self restraint is the aim of life giving permanent happiness and bliss.

 

Rishis ordained brahma-charya ashram in which a student has to lead a sex free life for 25 years, resulting in great personal velour and mental power. They could recite the whole Vedas by memory. According to Hinduism self restraint (atmasaiyam) is the basis of all progress. That is why Indians going to America have progressed there in all walks of life. President Obama had to say, ‘I want more and more Indians to settle in America and help in its progress’. Greek visitor Megasthenese and Chinese visitor Faheyam have described in detail the glory of amasing wealth and spiritual advancement that was India.

 

In India family life is based on mutual faith, love and respect for the entire life. The couple derives great happiness from their children which same sex couple cannot comprehend. All this is due to the disciplined sex of Hinduism. According to Swami Vivekananda, India is a land of Dharma in which Bhaktiyog, Gyanyog and Karmayog emancipate a person’s life. Hence after a slavery of 700 hundred years when much of the wealth of India was looted and financial institutions destroyed and the country ultimately achieved independence through nonviolence of Mahatma Gandhi, then within a short span of 50 years only business community of India with decent family back ground, respected sexual habits and traditional genius generated immense wealth by establishing big industries and exporting its product abroad bringing valuable foreign exchange and subsequently also buying big foreign companies we have also preserved our moral character which unfortunately is under great pressure today from western culture. We hear disgusting stories of sexual adventures of famous political leaders of the America which we in India dare not indulge in.

 

Taking into account all these factors Supreme Court rightly wants to preserve the Article 377Supreme Court rightly wants to preserve the Article 377.

 

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I am gay. I am married to a woman. This is my story.#LGBTQ #Sec377

by Ravi K.

 

It is now time to turn, like the sunflower, towards the sun. — Namdeo Dhassal On 11/12/13, when the Supreme Court’s order recriminalising homosexuality flashed on TVs, I felt a cold sweat. I shivered. But I had no difficulty hiding it from my colleagues in the newsroom. After all, I have been hiding my gayness — yes, I am gay — for many years. It was no big deal. But then something started ringing inside and there was a dull pain that intensified over the next few days. Secrecy is sin.

For many years, I committed that. Yesterday the Supreme Court rejected the review petition as well. The order recriminalising gay sex declared silence is sin too. The urge to speak up was stronger than ever before. So I say this. I am gay. I am married to a woman. It has been a remorse-filled 12 years, traversing two entirely different worlds – one fake and the other original but secret. This is my story. Here I lay it bare, though not in its entirety.

Representational image. Reuters.

Representational image. Reuters.

My life in mirrors

Where do I start from? There are many starting points. Once I accepted myself as gay and came out to my wife, many instances in life, which remained suspended for no reason, fell in place for both of us. Now when I look back, the picture is clearer. As a child, even before I went to school, I loved dressing up like a girl. Once my parents went to work and my brother and sister went to school, my grandmother looked after me. Left to myself the whole day, my favourite time-pass was dressing up as a girl. I did not enjoy the company of other kids, unless they were girls. My best friend was a girl in the neighbourhood. Our companionship, however, did not last long.

As I grew up, I increasingly got worried people might find out that I am more comfortable with girls as friends. Would they start making fun of me? Probably, my friend and her parents were worried too, only that their concern most likely was her closeness to a boy. The friendship died a slow death. Around seventh grade I also started feeling attraction to the male body. There was no sex education. I did not know why this was happening.

I liked dancing. My sister was learning classical dance. I remember going to the dance class with her as a kid. Whenever left to myself, I dressed up like a girl and danced. I had no friends in the village. I enjoyed my own company more than anybody else’s. Whenever I went out, I was afraid of getting publicly ridiculed and mocked. I feared that each and every aspect of my character, my behaviour betrayed the femininity, which I desperately tried to hide. One such was my fear of crackers, which was not considered masculine. As part of festivals, when my father and brother burst crackers in front of our house, my sister and I hid inside the house. I particularly remember one incident that happened when I was four or five.

One day, when I was returning from the market, somebody burst a cracker near me. I got scared and ran, crying. After this, people started calling me “cracker”. I learned to hide my likes and dislikes in order to adjust to the society’s norms. I changed the way I walked, the way I spoke. I learnt to swing my hands in a manly way.

I did not shave my moustache, even though I strongly wished to. In my home state, a clean shaven face is considered feminine. As I started living in the make-believe masculine, macho world, I created another world for myself – a world inside mirrors. Alone, in front of mirrors, I felt comfortable. I spoke to the reflection. He was a girl. I danced, sang, enacted roles. It was liberation.

My life was in mirrors, until I came out to my wife four years ago. Growing up as Mr Cellophane As I grew up, the list of my fears also grew. The fear of homosexuals was the biggest of all. I took care not to show any sympathy or compassion for homosexuals. I kept a distance from people who were known to be homosexuals. I hated them. When I look back, now I know the fear was of myself. I was keeping a distance not from others, but from myself. The hate, too, was for myself. Along with the fears, my shell grew harder too. I kept away from the society

 I remained invisible – Mr Cellophane.

Nobody knew who the real me was. The heterosexual world never thought I could be gay. It just takes for granted that everybody is a heterosexual. My relationships were plain and colourless. Love or hate, there was no passion. My father passed away three months back. I don’t think it is just coincidental that I am writing this after his death.

I love and respect my father. He was always helpful to all and was careful not to show discrimination based on caste or religion as much as possible. But I cannot deny the fact that he was the person who inculcated masculine straightness in me right from the childhood. He staunchly believed that dance is for girls. He despised and ridiculed my femininity, my love for dance. I stopped dancing. But I failed to maintain a sporty physique as he wanted. Until he was unwell and unable to speak properly, he enquired about my work-out schedule.

When he died, I cried. I cried not only for his death, but also for a life that I unwillingly forfeited. There were a few relationships that I lived through intensely. One such was a disastrous relationship I had with a cousin brother two years elder to me.

That happened during my college days and went on for more than 10 years until I broke up. His love – blind and possessive – was a burden. I couldn’t concentrate in my studies and mostly flunked the classes. I was overcome with the guilt of incest.

For many years after I broke up, the guilt continued to haunt me, until one of the foremost sexperts in the country told me such relationships—between cousins, brothers etc—are commonplace everywhere, including in Indian families. But the guilt had pushed me to the margins. I remained there forever, jealously ogling at the celebration of life, the happiness that flowed, around me. Whenever I tried to move towards the centre, I heard my own voice, life-less. I hated it.

When, after the studies, my friends started desperately looking for jobs, I remained clueless. For a mind in constant denial, everything remains hazy. What is he, one of my professors asked. Nobody knew. I didn’t know. I had to find out and thus started my exile.

Nowhere to hide

Why did I propose to my wife? I hit a wall whenever this question comes up in my mind. Didn’t I know that I was gay at that time? Definitely I knew but I never acknowledged it. I never spoke to anybody about my confusions. There was no easy access to the internet either. I thought it was this way with many men. After marriage I found myself easily adjusting to the new life. I love cooking. Maintaining the kitchen well came to me naturally.

My wife was happy about all this as well. But it was a playhouse set up by two best friends. There were no big tiffs. We enjoyed each other’s company. For some, interestingly, we were a model couple. I want to be a husband like him, one of her friends told her once. Days passed. Whenever I thought of telling my wife about by sexual orientation, I shuddered. For her, life had thrown up a puzzle. The more we tried opening the knots, the more we tied ourselves in knots because I never told her what the real issue was. After three years I gave up, she told me in one of our long discussions after I came out to her. But we remained together, faithful to each other.

Meanwhile, her health failed. She started getting frequent asthma attacks. She was sick. Most of our nights were sleepless. There came a day when guilt overtook me. I told her. To my surprise, I saw relief flashing across her face. And over the last four years, many things have changed. She became more confident about herself. She quit her high-paying software job and decided to pursue her passion. She is healthier now and doesn’t get asthma attacks. She knows the distance that stared in our face all through the first few years of our marriage was not her mistake. Life has become a lot easier for both of us.

After I came out to her, in the last four years, we have had many discussions. We spent many nights talking, trying to find answers to the whys of life. There are no clear answers. Why did I propose to my wife? Why did I marry a woman? Why didn’t I have the guts to face myself and realise that I am gay in time? That would have saved two lives, mine and her. There are days when a cold silence descends in our house. More than sex, it is the betrayal.

My guilt and her pain. Her pain and my guilt. We support each other emotionally: forgive, try to forget and move on. When I told her about my wish to write about my experiences, she said start loving yourself seamlessly. Can I? Can I, just once, end this self-imposed exile and go back to my home state? Start all over again? Be the person I naturally am no matter how effeminate? Correct the big mistake my life has been? Love myself? Love life? Be a dancer? (When I approached Bharatanatyam gurus recently, they were excited about teaching a 42-year-old, but said they had no time. They have time only for kids.) Upon coming to Mumbai after marriage, my wife had brought with her a small notebook from her college days. Why would you hide inside yourself, she had scribbled on the opening page of the book. This one-liner haunted my conscience throughout the married life.

A world crumbles

Why am I writing this now? I could have easily continued life as if nothing has happened. The fact that I have come out to my wife has made my guilt a little lighter. The few friends to whom I came out can keep it a secret. In front of the society, I would be a heterosexual, ‘normal’. But how long? Let me narrate a story from A. K. Ramanujan’s compilation of Indian folk tales. There lived a woman with her two sons and daughters-in-law. She was harassed by all the four. She had nobody to tell her miseries to and kept everything to herself.

As a result she started putting on weight. Her sons and their wives made fun of this. Don’t eat too much, they told her. One day, overcome by pain, she walked out towards the outskirts of the village. There she saw an abandoned house and went in. She told her complaints about the first son to the first wall. It came crumbling down. Then she spoke about the first daughter-in-law to the second wall, then about the second son to the third wall and about the second daughter-in-law to the fourth wall.

By the time all the four walls came down, she had also shed the extra weight that she had put on because of the accumulated grief. To me, the four walls are the system. When they come crumbling down, we are bound to sustain some injuries. But I hope there is a beautiful world that opens up beyond the walls. I do not mean to hide myself for long.

Coming out is a gradual process and I have only begun. Slowly, but surely, people related to me will come to know. There will be serious repercussions. Many will question me. I may not have answers for all of them. But once the dust settles down, I would know who my true friends and relatives are. There will be more pain, but I am ready to endure them. After all, I am responsible for the life I lived. I take the blame and that is also my redemption – for not being true to myself and also for not opting to fight. Ravi K.is a pseudonym. He works at Firstpost.

Read more at: http://www.firstpost.com/living/i-am-gay-i-am-married-to-a-woman-this-is-my-story-1364905.html?utm_source=ref_article

 

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#Sec377 stays in India as SC refuses to review verdict on gay sex #WTFnews

India Today Online  New Delhi, January 28, 2014 | UPDATED 18:47 IST

Sec 377 stays: SC refuses to review verdict on gay sexThe Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to review its verdict declaring gay sex an offence punishable up to life imprisonment. The apex court was hearing petitions filed by Centre and rights activists seeking review of its verdict.

A bench of justices H L Dattu and S J Mukhopadhaya took up the petition in chamber to decide whether the verdict needs to be re-looked or not.

Seeking stay on the operation of the judgement, gay rights activists, including NGO Naz Foundation, said thousands from the LGBT community became open about their sexual identity during the past four years after the high court decriminalised gay sex and they are now facing the threat of being prosecuted.

They submitted that criminalising gay sex amounts to violation of fundamental rights of the LGBT community.

The NGO submitted there are a number of “grave errors of law” and “wrong application of law” in the judgement which needs to be corrected.

“This court has failed to consider the submission that Section 377 violates the right to health of men who have sex with men, since criminalisation of same sex activity impedes access to health services, including HIV prevention efforts.

This contention was supported by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in this court,” the petition said.

Amid huge outrage against the judgement, the Centre also filed a review petition in the apex court.

The Centre sought review to “avoid grave miscarriage of justice to thousands of LGBT” persons who have been aggrieved by the apex court judgement contending it is “unsustainable” as it “suffers from errors”.

While setting aside the July 2, 2009 judgement of the Delhi High Court, the apex court had held that Section 377 (unnatural sexual offences) of the IPC does not suffer from the vice of unconstitutionality and that the declaration made by the high court is legally unsustainable.

In a big blow to the LGBT community, the Supreme Court had on December 11 set aside the Delhi High Court judgement decriminalising gay sex and threw the ball into Parliament’s court for amending law.

The judgement revived the penal provision making gay sex an offence punishable with life imprisonment in a setback to people fighting a battle for recognition of their sexual preferences.

The much-awaited verdict, reversing the four-year-old high court judgement, drew sharp criticism from people belonging to different fields who termed it a “black day” and a “lost opportunity” for the apex court to expand the constitutional values.

Challenging the verdict, Naz Foundation said in its review plea the verdict is contrary to the well-settled legal principles of the Constitution and proscribing certain sexual acts between consenting adults in private, demeans and impairs the dignity of all individuals under Article 21, irrespective of their sexual orientation.

“This court has failed to consider that Section 377, which prohibits all penile-non vaginal sexual acts between consenting adults, violates right to privacy of all persons under Article 21, irrespective of sexual orientation,” the petition said.

“The court has completely ignored the comparative jurisprudence from foreign jurisdictions on anti-sodomy laws and how they have been struck down for being violative of rights to privacy, dignity and autonomy of LGBT persons,” it said, adding “the justification to prohibit non-procreative sex might have been valid in 1861 but it is no longer valid in the present times and contexts and ought to be struck down.”

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