Tagged: Gurukiran Kamath

Sharanya Matthu Sruthi Love Story – Jeeva Video Pathrike 1

Jeeva Video Magazine 1 “Sruthi-Saranya Love Story” is a true story about two young lesbian women from Kerala falling in love and fighting for their love against all odds. The film explores how these women met, the reaction of their families when they found out and the support sought by them to live their lives as they wished. The film particularly focuses on the legal impediments faced by lesbian couples, the denial of right of a woman to choose her partner, lack of availability of space to express one’s gender and sexual identity and the patriarchal control over women’s sexuality.

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Seeking judicial guidelines in Habeas Corpus petitions relating to women – Press Release

Press Release

Bangalore, 14 Aug 2013: Sruthi, a lesbian from Kerala, put up a brave front and declared today that she would fight legally for the release of Saranya, her friend and partner, from the clutches of her family.

Addressing a press conference at the Institute of Agricultural Technologists on Wednesday, the 21-year-old B.Com graduate narrated how she was threatened by the Kerala police in the Kerala High Court premises yesterday. “Mr Anil Kumar, the Sub-Inspector, was forcing me to go back to my parents and threatened me of dire consequences. But I told the honourable court that I do not want to go back to my parents house,’’ Sruthi said.

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The Press Conference was arranged by ReachLaw and Praja Rajakiya Vedike to reveal the details of a campaign taken up to press for creating guidelines to deal with cases of Habeas Corpus petitions relating to women. Prominent city lawyer and human rights activist, Mr BT Venkatesh, a partner in Reach Law, a law firm and Mr Elavarthi Manohar of Praja Rajakiya Vedike addressed the media along with Sruthi.

“The Shornur SI Mr Anil Kumar also threatened me and others including advocates Ms Asha Unnithan, Mr Jahangeer Paleri, Mr. Abhilash and Ms. Nithu, a human rights activist and when we reminded him that he is in the court premises, he tried to intimidate us by saying `come out of the court, we will see’,’’ said Mr Venkatesh, who along with advocate Ms Asha Unnithan, represented Sruthi, fought and won the case. They filed a complaint with the Registrar General of the High Court of Kerala that Kerala police have threatened them in the premises of the court.

In reply to a question, Mr Venkatesh also narrated the landmark judgment in the case Rajmohan MS vs State of Kerala in the Kerala High Court where the honourable court ruled that even a friend or partner or a spouse can file a Habeas Corpus petition. He felt that abuse of procedures during Habeas Corpus petitions should be looked into and urged for urgent guidelines to be framed. “We have started an online petition LET WOMEN DECIDE FOR THEMSELVES: relationship, marriage, friendship… Need for guidelines in cases of Habeas Corpus on avaaz.org (http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/LET_WOMEN_DECIDE_FOR_THEMSELVES_relationship_marriage_friendship_Need_for_guidelines_in_cases_of_Habeas_Corpus/?fbdm)

requesting the public and after a few days we will submit the petition to honourable Chief Justice of Kerala High Court Justice Manjula Chellur,’’ said Manohar Elavarthi. He also said “women are no way less than men, adult women are capable of making their own decisions like any human being in the society. Any section of society treating adult women as property of their father/ husband/ son/ family is illegal and is highly condemnable.”

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On Tuesday, the honourable High court of Kerala dismissed the case of Habeas Corpus petition filed by the mother of Sruthi, alleging that the Bangalore based well-known NGO Sangama had detained her against her will.

For details call Manohar 963222 3460

Sangama wins Lesbian case in Kerala High Court – Press Release

Press Release

Bangalore, 13 Aug 2013:  The Kerala High Court today dismissed a writ petition against a Lesbian represented by Sangama, after the honourable court inquired and proved false the allegations made by her mother and Sruthi was set free to make her own decision. In a stunning judgment, Justice Anthony Dominic said: “She is free to go anywhere she wants,’’ a freedom denied to many adult women who struggle to get out of their `parents’ protection’.

On Tuesday, the honourable High court of Kerala dismissed the case of Habeas Corpus petition filed by the mother of Sruthi, alleging that the Bangalore based well-known NGO Sangama had detained her against her will. She also further alleged that her daughter would be subjected to prostitution and the honourable high court in the presence of Sruthi and her parents, and representatives of Sangama including its Director Gurukiran Kamath, heard the case. Sruthi interacted with her family and gave them confidence that she is pursuing education at Bangalore and wish to be responsible for her own life and asked them not to worry about her.

When questioned by the court on the allegations made against Sangama and of her alleged detention by Sangama, Sruthi informed Justice Anthony Dominic that all the allegations were false and that she is at Bangalore on her own will and that she has moved to Bangalore to pursue her education and employment. The court then dismissed the writ petition.

Prominent city lawyer and human rights activist, Mr BT Venkatesh and advocate Ms Asha of Thrissur represented Sruthi. “The practice in Habeas Corpus cases in Kerala against women was always against the Constitutionally guaranteed Fundamental Rights. The courts are supposed to be the guardian of these Fundamental Rights. But unfortunately Judicial Intimidation has happened in Saranya’s case where the girl was forced to return to her parents. Fortunately, in this case, the alleged detenue Sruthi came up to the standards of the courageous women and was not overtaken or overwhelmed by the unfriendly atmosphere of the court hall which emphasizes that only courageous and empowered women can have their freedom like that of men”.

A beaming Sruthi, who was at the centre of the case, said after coming out of the court: “I had voluntarily moved out of my native place along with my partner and friend Saranya as our families were opposed to our relationship.’’ She also added: “Saranya’s father made wild allegations against me stating that I had kidnapped and taken away Saranya for illegal and immoral activities. He also deliberately supressed the facts and indulged in emotional blackmail to take back Saranya away from me clandestinely. I am also pursuing to secure the release of Saranya from the detention of her parents.’’

Sruthi also stated that Sangama is one of the finest organisations providing protection and security to give member like me from the marginalised communities, the confidence to lead a free and independent life. The allegations made against Sangama were made with an intention to compel me to go back to my parents and to discourage me to pursue my career in Bangalore.

She also said that she loves and respect her parents and that allegations made against her and Sangama were made forced on my mother by some persons to misled my mother to file this petition. “My mother has been very supportive of me and I know that it is not my mother’s intention to file a petition against me,’’ she felt.

Gurukiran Kamath, Director of Sangama, stated that it is unfortunate that such false allegations were made against Sangama, an organisation that is striving to protect the human rights of sexual minorities, sex workers and other marginalised sections of society for over a decade. He said despite the best efforts to bring down the name of our organisation by such wild allegations, Sangama would never waver from its commitment to these communities. He said the order of the honorable High Court re-affirms their belief that right of choice is a fundamental right that can never be violated by anyone including the state agencies. “Sangama has supported many lesbians and transgenders who migrated from Kerala to Bangalore in the past 10 years and will continue to support them in future as well,’’ he declared.

Manohar Elavarthi, Joint Secretary of Praja Rajakiya Vedike expressed his happiness at the judgement. He said: “the rights of lesbians are routinely violated in different parts of India and there is a need for all human rights groups to extend their support. PRV extends its full support to Sruthi in getting the release of Saranya.’’ He appealed to all human rights and progressive groups to extend support to Sruthi’s struggle and struggles of millions of sexual minorities in India. “The brave efforts of Sruthi will help many more in future in creating a society free from homophobia,’’ Manohar, who is also the founder of Sangama, concluded.

For details call Gurukiran 98803 65692 or Manohar 963222 3460On Tuesday, the honourable High court of Kerala dismissed the case of Habeas Corpus petition filed by the mother of Sruthi, alleging that the Bangalore based well-known NGO Sangama had detained her against her will. She also further alleged that her daughter would be subjected to prostitution and the honourable high court in the presence of Sruthi and her parents, and representatives of Sangama including its Director Gurukiran Kamath, heard the case. Sruthi interacted with her family and gave them confidence that she is pursuing education at Bangalore and wish to be responsible for her own life and asked them not to worry about her.

When questioned by the court on the allegations made against Sangama and of her alleged detention by Sangama, Sruthi informed Justice Anthony Dominic that all the allegations were false and that she is at Bangalore on her own will and that she has moved to Bangalore to pursue her education and employment. The court then dismissed the writ petition.

Prominent city lawyer and human rights activist, Mr BT Venkatesh and advocate Ms Asha of Thrissur represented Sruthi. “The practice in Habeas Corpus cases in Kerala against women was always against the Constitutionally guaranteed Fundamental Rights. The courts are supposed to be the guardian of these Fundamental Rights. But unfortunately Judicial Intimidation has happened in Saranya’s case where the girl was forced to return to her parents. Fortunately, in this case, the alleged detenue Sruthi came up to the standards of the courageous women and was not overtaken or overwhelmed by the unfriendly atmosphere of the court hall which emphasizes that only courageous and empowered women can have their freedom like that of men”.

A beaming Sruthi, who was at the centre of the case, said after coming out of the court: “I had voluntarily moved out of my native place along with my partner and friend Saranya as our families were opposed to our relationship.’’ She also added: “Saranya’s father made wild allegations against me stating that I had kidnapped and taken away Saranya for illegal and immoral activities. He also deliberately supressed the facts and indulged in emotional blackmail to take back Saranya away from me clandestinely. I am also pursuing to secure the release of Saranya from the detention of her parents.’’

Sruthi also stated that Sangama is one of the finest organisations providing protection and security to give member like me from the marginalised communities, the confidence to lead a free and independent life. The allegations made against Sangama were made with an intention to compel me to go back to my parents and to discourage me to pursue my career in Bangalore.

She also said that she loves and respect her parents and that allegations made against her and Sangama were made forced on my mother by some persons to misled my mother to file this petition. “My mother has been very supportive of me and I know that it is not my mother’s intention to file a petition against me,’’ she felt.

Gurukiran Kamath, Director of Sangama, stated that it is unfortunate that such false allegations were made against Sangama, an organisation that is striving to protect the human rights of sexual minorities, sex workers and other marginalised sections of society for over a decade. He said despite the best efforts to bring down the name of our organisation by such wild allegations, Sangama would never waver from its commitment to these communities. He said the order of the honorable High Court re-affirms their belief that right of choice is a fundamental right that can never be violated by anyone including the state agencies. “Sangama has supported many lesbians and transgenders who migrated from Kerala to Bangalore in the past 10 years and will continue to support them in future as well,’’ he declared.

Manohar Elavarthi, Joint Secretary of Praja Rajakiya Vedike expressed his happiness at the judgement. He said: “the rights of lesbians are routinely violated in different parts of India and there is a need for all human rights groups to extend their support. PRV extends its full support to Sruthi in getting the release of Saranya.’’ He appealed to all human rights and progressive groups to extend support to Sruthi’s struggle and struggles of millions of sexual minorities in India. “The brave efforts of Sruthi will help many more in future in creating a society free from homophobia,’’ Manohar, who is also the founder of Sangama, concluded.

For details call Gurukiran 98803 65692 or Manohar 963222 3460

Human Rights Violations against a lesbian couple in Kerala, India

Lesbian couple from Kerala, India, Sruthi and Saranya, both aged 21 years, are denied their rights to live together and to make their choice. They are abused, intimidated and are persecuted. Join the voices that are demanding protection of their rights.

Sruthi, BT Venkatesh (senior advocate and human rights activist) and Manohar Elavarthi spoke in this video.

Saranya went back to her parents on 30 July 2013, after undergoing a lot of stress and `emotional blackmail’

Press Release

Bangalore, 1 Aug 2013: After undergoing a lot of stress and `emotional blackmail’, one of the two women, Saranya, who came to Bangalore from Kerala, went back to her parents on 30 July 2013. However, Shruthi returned to Bangalore on her own choice and pledged to fight the conservative system and appealed to everyone not to discriminate them.

Saranya’s father Mr. Mohanan filed a Habeas Corpus petition in the Kerala High Court where Saranya was represented by well-know advocate Mr. BT Venkatesh and Advocate Asha on 30 July. However, the court has allowed the parents to talk to the girl alone for over two hours but we felt that she was not given a chance to talk on her own. She was asked by court whether she would like to go back to her parents and she replied `Yes’ in a mono syllable. She was under duress and “emotional stress”.

Adressing a Press Conference at Press Club today, Senior Advocate and Human Rights Activist Mr BT Venkatesh, said: “I feel that court ought to have handled the matter in a more sensitive manner. It was visible that the girl was under great stress and it was also necessary that the girl ought to have been enquired in a friendly atmosphere which was not the case. We have seen, there is a crying need to form a set of guidelines in the matters relating to Habeas Corpus petitions seeking custody of women or girl child in particular. Absence of such guidelines, we have seen, resulted in women being pushed to traumatic situations more particularly when the families are oppressive. The case of Saranya, unfortunately, stands in that league.”

“Saranya’s father has been harassing her for the last few days and he has also made false allegations against Sangama. After watching the whole issue unfold in the last few days, It is clear, Saranya’s decision came after she was subjected to emotional blackmail,” said Gurukiran Kamath, Director, Sangama.

Two lesbians from Kerala, who ran away from their homes, have requested the support of Sangama, a human rights organisation working for Sexual Minorities, for legal support.

Sangama is a human rights organisation promoting and defending the rights of sexual minorities, sex workers and other oppressed communities and has been working with many organisations in Kerala for the last 13 years and from 2010 it has been directly doing local work from many districts of Kerala with the community based organizations of sexual minorities. The organisation has supported many women in distress from Kerala in the last 13 years.

“Saranya has clearly told her father and other members that she has come out on her own. But the pressure from home was so much that she was forced to go back. I am sure Saranya is not happy there. I want to talk to her and want know how she is,” said Shruthi, who chose to return back to Bangalore.

“When we talk about freedom, where is the freedom for women? In a democratic country, if an adult is not having freedom then it is against the constitutional morality, ” said Elavarthi Manohar, Joint Secretary, Praja Rajakiya Vedike.

Shubha Chacko, a women’s rights activist and Director of Aneka said: “We will take this issue to women’s movement to have a larger dialogue. We strongly demand the protection of women’s rights.”

For details call Gurukiran 9972903460 or the helpline 9901682151

Sangama nails father’s lies, comes to Lesbians’ rescue (Press Conference)

Press Release

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Gurukiran Kamath, BT Venkatesh, Manohar Elavarthi, Saranya, Shruthi (Left to Right) addressing the press conference

Bangalore, 27 July 2013: Two lesbians from Kerala, who ran away from their homes, addressed a Press Conference here today saying that they came to Bangalore voluntarily and on their own without any pressure or force from anyone.

“The girls are safe here and both the local police and Kerala police know about it. Even the father has come here to the Sanjaynagar Police Station, where the police after taking a written statement from the women refused to send them back as the women did not want to go back to their families,’’ said Elavarthi Manohar, Joint Secretary, Praja Rajakiya Vedike and founder of Sangama.

Addressing a Press Conference at the Institute of Agriculture Technologists (IAT) on Queen’s Road here today, he added: “Her father has given false information and is misleading the court and the police. He knows where his daughter is and he has spoken to her both in person in Bangalore and on phone many times but still he gave a missing complaint in the police station. These are adult women who have a right to decide on their own and Sangama will definitely support them.’’

“Sangama is a human rights organisation promoting and defending the rights of sexual minorities, sex workers and other oppressed communities and has been working with organisation in Kerala for the last 10 years and from 2010 it has been directly doing local work from many cities in Kerala with the community based organizations of sexual minorities with the support of Global Fund. The organisation has supported many such couples from Kerala in the last 13 years,’’ he revealed.

Sangama legal advisor and prominent Human Rights Lawyer, Mr BT Venkatesh said: “a petition was filed in the Kerala High Court against the State and one of the women. The father of Saranya alleged that “a lesbian” had kidnapped her daughter with the support of Sangama. They have misled the court as the petition was filed suppressing the facts and the incidents that took place in the Office of the  Inspector of Police, Sanjay Nagar Police Station, Bangalore.”

“He knows that where her daughter is and he is in touch with her,” he added. “We will be placing the facts before the honourable court on July 30,” he added.

Gurukiran Kamath, Director, Sangama said: “In the month of June 2013, Sangama Crisis helpline received a phone call from two women in Kerala asking for support to lead an independent life. Both of them narrated tales of harassment from their families and have taken a decision to come out of Kerala after due consideration.”

“Initially our helpline coordinator after an assessment of their age, school certificates assured them support. They requested Sangama to provide them legal support, if it is needed. They again called our helpline on the 6th of July 2013 saying they were on their way to Bangalore and requested Sangama to provide them support of shelter. After checking their credentials we provided them the required support including legal aid,” added Gurukiran.

Addressing the media, the women said that they have voluntarily come to Bangalore on their own. “We have informed our parents and have sent telegrams to our families stating that we are safe. We also gave a written statement to the Sanjaynagar Police and informed the Kerala Police, who came in search of us that we are adults and we are not willing to go back home,’’ they added. It was on the 10th July when Saranya’s father and Shruthi’s brother came to Bangalore accompanied by Kerala police.

Replying to a question, the women took courage and revealed their names: Both Saranya and Shruthi said they were 21 years of age.

Earlier, with the help of Sanjaynagar police, the Kerala Police came to Sangama office on July 10 and started searching for the women. Our activists stopped the police and asked if they had a search warrant. They did not have search warrant. We communicated the same to the Inspector of Police, Sanjaynagar, Bangalore. He informed us that police from Kerala had come to his police station seeking assistance on a complaint lodged by father of Saranya that his daughter was found missing from home.

On 11th July, 2013 day the women wanted to visit Sanjaynagar police station and requested for assistance of Sangama. And Sangama’s representatives visited the police station on their request. The Inspector of Police, Sanjaynagar Police Station, facilitated meeting of women with their family members. “The Police enquired whether we are interested in returning home with members of our family. We refused to return and informed my brother and Saranya’s father that we are fine and safe here and we want to live in Bangalore on our own. The Inspector of Police, Sanjaynagar, Bangalore recorded our statements,’’ said Shruthi. The police also supplied copies of the same to the police of Kerala, who were present during the said time in the Police Station.

For more details call Gurukiran 09972903460 or the helpline 09901682151