Spectra is the LGBTQ students collective of the Pondicherry University. They had put up a painted poster commemorating the historic judgment of the Supreme Court of India reading down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, and were also planning to host the first Pondicherry Pride on 28th of September 2018. However, certain unknown people vandalised and destroyed the poster and scribbled “irrational” over it, in the intervening night of 18th and 19th September.
Some students, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said they suspect certain conservative elements amongst the University students, who are favoured by the administration, to be behind the act. However they say that in the absence of proof they cannot do anything about it. They said that security in general, and security and safely of LGBTQ students in particular, is not up to the mark inside the University Campus.
The administration has so far refused to comment or to clarify what they plan to do in terms of finding the culprits, or prevent such displays of homophobia within the campus in the future.
Students of the University mentioned that as a Central University, the administration of the university falls under the definition of ‘state’ as per the Constitution of India, and therefore they have, after the Supreme Court Judgment on 377, a duty to foster inclusivity and non-discrimination for LGBTQ Students, and ensure that they get to obtain education in a milieu devoid of persecution and fear. This they say the University administration has singularly failed to do.
The Students of Spectra called for a protest in front of the vandalised poster at 3:30 pm yesterday on 19th Sep. Many students from progressive and liberal students organisations, and other supportive students joined the protest along with members of Spectra.
Many people are worried that the Pride that is being organised at the “Gender Gate” of the University on 28th September at 6 pm may also be threatened or targeted by these lumpen elements who may resort to violence. Since it is expected that many outside supporters will also attend the pride, it is now incumbent upon the administration to take all necessary steps towards ensuring safety of the pride.
The question that remains, is whether the administration will stand with prejudice and homophobes and do nothing, or will do their duty towards protecting diversity and fostering inclusion of their LGBTQ students.
This article was first published here.