India: Charges and Lay Off for Women in Love

manifestanti al Pride di Kolkata in India
Bacio tra manifestanti al Pride di Calcutta, in India

In the Indian city of Bangalore, the union between two women is raising oppositions on the infamous Section 377, and It’s led to charges and layoffs. Despite the illegitimacy of homosexual weddings, two Indian women -25 and 21 years old- got married. In May 2017, they decided to move in together, away from their disapproving families, which reacted by pressing charges against them. The police offered, to the two women, psychiatric guidance to help them realize the wrongdoing of their relationship.

Following the hype of the news, circulating on TV along with several photos of them, one of the women was fired from her job over the phone, and with no warning. The company decided to let her go as a result of everyone knowing her sexual preference. [First Post]

Hands tied by the police

Homosexual love has many enemies in India, but hopefully this will not unfold like Reena and Soniya’s story who disappeared, perhaps taken far away from each other by their families. Hopefully, for the two Bangalore women, the story will unfold with a much happier ending.

The families tried to play the Section 377 card, which criminalizes sexual activities “against the order of nature” punishable with imprisonment, by reporting the two women. However, given the lack of eye witnesses, since the two women did not commit acts in public spaces, the families cannot prove their violation. Moreover, lesbian weddings are not approved by the law but they are also not criminalized which means, unless the charges are generated within the couple, the police cannot act against them. Hopefully, the families will not come up with a different reason to incriminated them.

Is marriage a crime?

Former prosecutor S. Doreraju explains that appealing to Section 377 is useless, and the families should pursue a different angle: like derangement or manipulation. Undoubtedly, there are different opinions regarding lesbian unions, as many still think they should be punishable by law; but right now, it is comforting to know the police do not have the sufficient tools to act against them, so much so, they weren’t even able to go after them. [Bangalore Mirror]

Currently, the two women are still refusing to return home. They have changed address and asked for help from a non-governmental organization.


translation by Barbara Burgio
©2017 Il Grande Colibrì

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