Over 200 people protested at Town hall today to condemn the police terror in Hassan against Sexual Minorities last week. The protest is organised by Karnataka Sexual Minorities Forum. Praja Rajakiya Vedike and many other organisations took part in today’s protest.
Karnataka Sexual Minorities Forum
Protest to condemn police terror on sexual minorities in Hassan
Bangalore, 11 Nov 2013: Over 200 sexual minorities including hijras and other supporters protested at Town hall today to condemn the police terror in Hassan against Sexuality and Gender Minorities last week.
They demanded withdrawal of all cases including under section 377 against the 13 members of the sexuality minority community in Hassan.
During the midnight hours of Nov 3 and 4, when the whole country was celebrating Diwali, the Hassan police carried out a systematic raid arresting 13 persons under Section 377 of the IPC and other sections. They were charged under 3 separate FIRs.
In the first FIR the complainant, a 21-year college student, alleged that in 2011 he was coerced into having sex with 6 persons. These 6 persons, according to him, threatened him saying that they would reveal his history in his college as well as to his parents. He said that he was forced into having `unnatural’ sex and hence he was infected with HIV. It is only now in 2013 that he had the courage to report on what had allegedly happened to him two years ago.
“The police began the midnight operation by going to the house the programme officer of Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement, an NGO implementing the State government’s HIV prevention program, and pressurised him to identify the project staff members. From there the programme officer was taken to the house of a sexual minority person, who was in turn coerced to give the names of other sexual minorities. Using this method, the police arrested 5 from their homes and 8 from other public places,” said Mallappa, President of Karnataka Sexual Minorities Forum, which formed a coalition of organisations to fight these type of harassment.
“The arrests and methods used clearly indicates their intention of spreading fear and terror among the gender minority community and the huge visibility in the media resulting in shaming and humiliating the arrested persons. All of the arrested were also harassed in the jails,” he added.
The modus operandi was to target members of the community, ignoring the fact that as per the judgement of the Delhi High Court in Naz Foundation v. NCR Delhi, sexual minorities are full citizens of India.
“Just when the struggle for equal citizenship of sexual minorities is slowly getting established, the mass scale of the Hassan arrests pushes sexual minorities underground. The arrests are a reminder of the arbitrary power vested in Section 377 of the IPC in local police officers and hence the urgent need for the repeal of this draconian provision,” said human rights activist Manohar Elavarthi, who founded Sangama, which fights for the rights of sexuality minorities.
The protesters main demands are:
Withdrawal of prosecution against all the accused under Section 377 of the IPC
Suspend and Prosecute Mr Ravi D Channanavar (SP), Mr Mahesh JE (PSI), Mr Krishna SK (PSI) and other police officers responsible for the fabrication of cases
Compensation to all the arrested for the harm to reputation done by the false and frivolous prosecutions.
Ensure that there is no sexual abuse/harassment of sexual minority prisoners in the jail by ensuring separate cells
Repeal Section 377 of the IPC
According to Karnataka Sexual Minorities Forum (KSMF), the protest was organised along with Abhayaspandana, Alternative Law forum, Aneka, Apthamitra, Jeeva, Jyothi Mahila Sangha, Karnataka Sex Workers Union (KSWU), Milana, Navasahaja, Navaspoorthy, Nisarga, Pragathi, Praja Rajakiya Vedike (PRV), Prakruthi Seva Samsthe, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL)-Karnataka, Raksha, Sadhane, Samara, Samara Dharwad, Samara Doddaballapura, Samara Jayanagara, Samara Ramanagara, Samara Yeshwanthpura, Samatha, Sammelana, Sangama, Sanjeevini, Sarathya, Sneha Society, Shristy Sankula, Sweekar, Vimochana and other supportive organisations.
For details call Mallappa, KSMF, at 95915 40181 or Manohar Elavarthi at 94839 50202.