In the recent Human Rights Convention held in Geneva, India tarnished its tag of democracy by voting against the survival of the third sex, internationally.
On 29th of September, 2017, 47 members of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) met in Geneva to vote for and against banning the death penalty for homosexuals. While the majority, that is, 27 member states voted for the resolution; it came as a big-time shock for Indians since India was one of the 13 states including the United States to have voted against the resolution.
While India’s stand on homosexuality in the past has been quite ambiguous and unclear; having taken a stand at an international level as this, has had the country to pay the price by putting the legitimacy of its tag of democracy under the lens. A country that boasts of its man-made diversity outrightly denies acceptance of nature.
While the resolution limited the death penalty to the “rarest of the rare” cases with the rights of the individuals to be protected; it becomes imperative to note that India’s move has been quite unconstitutional as well, pertaining to the fact that in August 2017, the Supreme Court of India held that “Right to Privacy” is a fundamental right under Article 14, Part III of the Indian Constitution; therefore, the need to scrape out the 160-year-old Section 377, that criminalized sexual activities as “against the order of nature”, including homosexual sexual activities. The section was decriminalized with reference to intercourse between consenting adults by the Delhi High Court in July 2009. However, the judgment was overturned by the Supreme Court of India on 11th of December 2013; declaring it to be an issue to be left at the behest of the Parliament, thereby, persistently having an uncertain stand.
So far, in the international community, there have been 6 states which criminalize homosexuality with death- Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria, and Somalia- including the Islamic States of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The 11 states apart from India and the US are- Botswana, Burundi, Egypt, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, China, Iraq, Japan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Most of the countries from the middle-east have an anti-homo attitude apparently due to their obligation and restriction of the Sharia Law.
The members of the LGBTQ+ community in India despite being looked at with tabooed eyes have succeeded in coming up with their problems and establishing themselves amidst all the stigmas. Manabi Bandopadhyay, a transgender from Kolkata, is the Principal of Krishnanagar College and an activist as well. With this stand, the lives of these people stand jeopardized, as, in the undercurrent, it gives license to the hatemongers, who, as gun-toting bikes, men, might go around assassinating them while we wait to mourn for another martyr. Something similar has already surfaced in the capital, wherein, a boy of class 12 was brutally thrashed by a group of men who had earlier called him a gay, in Shakarpur area this Sunday.
In December 2015, Lok Sabha member Shashi Tharoor of the Indian National Congress had suggested a private member bill to replace section 377 in the Indian Penal Code and decriminalize same-sex relationships; that was turned down at its very initial stage. It was taken up by him yet again, in the year 2016 but was voted down for the second time. It is quite ironical to note that our foreign pseudo-ancestors, who tainted us with the bane around 160 years ago by getting it imbibed into the Constitution; are the European nations who chose humanity over the so-called “beliefs”, while we stand on the same threshold. Most of the Latin American and European countries voted for the resolution.
India as a nation seems to be at a tug-of-war with her own beliefs and practices. This has become quite evident through the very fact that so far, none of the Governments in power, have ever, in their tenure, come clean with a stand on this issue. It has, like every other issue, been reduced to another rung of vote-bank politics.
It seems as if India is trying to follow or borrow some of the ideologies from the Sharia Law, in this context, of course.
Image credit- Press Trust of India