In another reminder of the atrocities faced by LGBT community in India, a gay man was allegedly sexually assaulted and threatened by a group of policemen and women in the outskirts of Chennai on the night of 6th June.
The victim, who was walking towards his home around half past ten through a deserted stretch of land, was accosted by a group of ten policemen and women in mufti standing near a Jeep. One of the policewomen derisively called out to him for wearing leggings. As he quickened his pace pretending not to listen, the woman signalled two policemen to catch him. She repeated her question to him and on not receiving an answer, made an offensive remark about his chest looking like that of a woman. The two policemen then started groping him and the remaining men also joined in, raining blows with their sticks. The entire group kept up with the abusive rant against him calling him a hijra and a menace, all the while groping and slapping him in turns. They went through his bag and noted his address and phone number, threatening him to not reveal anything as they had the law on their side (Section 377 of the IPC which criminalizes same-sex acts was upheld by the Supreme Court in December 2013), which made men of ‘his kind illegal’. They said that they enjoyed full support from both the regional and national ruling parties for their actions.
The victim says that he is reluctant to take any action as the cops know his residence and he fears for the safety of his parents with whom he stays. He adds that the area he stays in has already witnessed multiple murders and mysterious disappearances of individuals, and the cops seemed quite earnest in their threats of harming him. He says that their claims of political support also seem credible. He could not make out the names of the cops as they were in mufti, and states that his account of the assault, which he has shared on the Gaysi website, is about as far as he can go.
The Supreme Court verdict that reinstated Section 377 in December 2013 had mentioned that there was no evidence of it being used to harass individuals and that ‘mere fear of misuse’ of a statute was not sufficient to render it unconstitutional. What it clearly overlooked is that most of the cases which involve harassment under the pretext of Section 377 are never registered due to the fear of recrimination and the adverse effects they may have on friends and family. There was a similar incident in Gujarat in February this year where a gay man who was allegedly raped by policemen in Ahmedabad refused to register a case fearing negative spotlight on his family. Instances of abuse and assault on gay and transgender men by cops abound, but most are never reported.
Read the complete account of the assault written by the victim at the Gaysi website here.
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- Documentary Recounts the Life of Greg Louganis, Champion Gay Diver - January 16, 2016
- Nepal’s New Constitution Includes Sexual And Gender Minority Rights - September 18, 2015