On 6 September 2018, India decriminalised consensual homosexual sex between consenting adults saying sexual orientation is natural and people have no control on it. However, there are still people who seem to have a tough time accepting it. A woman in eastern India had recently been tied up to a tree and beaten after neighbours discovered that she was in a lesbian relationship.
On 24th May, a 19-year-old was found in bed with another woman from her village. The villagers who caught them were not just disturbed but furious as well. Sarmila Malla was dragged out of her house, tied to a tree, and trashed for being in a same-sex relationship.
Malla said, according to the paper: “I was dragged out of my house by my neighbours. They beat me up and tied me to a tree. They abused and kicked me when my parents tried to rescue me. We are madly in love with each other.”
Malla is the daughter of Rabindra Malla, a resident of Chandol village and has been seeing a girl of the same village for the past six months. While the villagers were aware of her behaviour and termed her as ‘immoral’, matters went out of control on Friday when Sarmila was found sharing a bed with her partner on Thursday night.
“We beat up and tied Sarmila to a tree in our village as she is a lesbian. She is immoral and has besmirched the name of our village,” said Ganesh Parida, a resident of the village.
‘I was appalled at what I saw’
However, not everybody approved of what took place during the event of the “so-called-crime”. Some, like Chandol resident Ranjan Parida, could only watch helplessly as the teenager was punished. “Though she was not badly injured, I was appalled at what I saw,” he said. Some villager had tipped the police about the happening. Fortunately, the police soon arrived and untied Sarmila.
“We have registered a case against some villagers. The attackers can face up to seven years in prison. During interrogation, we found that both the girls are in a relationship, which was being opposed by the villagers,” SDPO, Prakash Chandra Pal, said.
The incident comes days after sprint queen Dutee Chand (23), a well-known Indian athlete came out and declared that she too was in a same-sex relationship.
LGBT Rights – Dilemma in Indian society
The topic of LGBT and LGBT equality had been a constant dilemma in Indian society. It wasn’t long ago when Dutee Chand came out as gay. However, she too had had to face constant backlash from her family.
Last September, a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court unanimously decriminalised part of the 158-year-old colonial law under Section 377 of the IPC that banned consensual unnatural sex between adults. While it permits same-sex relationships, same-sex marriage isn’t yet recognized. In fact, the decriminalisation of Section 377 is not valid for the Indian Defence Force.
Furthermore, India has always been closed to the open discussion of sex and homosexuality. In fact, homosexuality and sex are considered a taboo in a country where the population is 1,350,438,098. It’s a huge population, isn’t it? It isn’t possible that such a huge population is unaware of what sex or homosexuality means. Saying so would be an obvious lie. Did you know that homosexuality has been there for a long time in Indian culture?
While there has been considerable growth and development of the community, it is quite slow. Despite having gained independence, the community is yet to gain equal rights in various matters at hand.
Source: Associated Press