Although Sec 377 was decriminalised two years ago, members of the LGBTQ+ community still continue to face discrimination. In a shocking incident, a 22-year-old from Kerala was forcibly taken away from her girlfriend’s house and sent back to her parents by the police. The woman had been consensually living with her partner for the last 20 days.
The questionable incident occurred in Chennai, wherein two police officers – from Kerala and Chennai – tracked down the 22-year-old after her parents registered a missing complaint. Hailing from Kozhikode, the girl had run away after her parents had strongly opposed her relationship with another woman.
Kerala cops take 22-yr-old away from lesbian partner in Chennai, lawyers question movehttps://t.co/dIq6E7OTWf
— Atheist Republic (@AtheistRepublic) October 26, 2020
The same-sex couple have violated no laws. On what grounds then, did the cops force the girl, identified as Ananya (name changed), out of her partner’s house?
Kerala cops take 22-yr-old away from lesbian partner in Chennaihttps://t.co/aYlza3OKUh
How the hell is this even legal? How can a magistrate force a 22-year-old woman to live with her parents?
(Rhetorical; the answer is "India".)
— Madhu Menon (@madmanweb) October 27, 2020
The couple met on TikTok, fell in love, and decided to move in. Ananya’s partner complained, “She is a major and can choose not to go back. But she was taken away.”
“They (the police) asked me certain questions. They said they needed to produce her before the Magistrate in Kerala and then let her off according to what she says,” she added.
Looking at the grim situation the women found themselves in, they sought help from a lawyer, Akila RS. A member of the International Foundation for Crime Prevention and Victim Care (PCVC), a Chennai-based organisation that works for women and the LGBTQ community, the lawyer pointed out that when they tried to intervene and speak to the cops, the officers completely refused to pay heed to their requests.
“In this case, the Tamil Nadu police should have ascertained from Ananya, if she was living in Chennai voluntarily. They should have completed the investigation, recorded her statement and informed the Kerala police. Besides, there was sufficient age-proof to show she is an adult. However, that did not happen,” Advocate Akila said. Unfortunately, the woman was denied the opportunity to even seek legal advice on the matter.
On Sunday, Ananya was produced in the court before the Magistrate via video conferencing and later sent back home with her father. “She told the female police officer that she will stay with her parents for 10 days and return to Chennai,” Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP), Thamarassey told The News Minute.
Netizens have expressed their outrage at how the police dealt with the situation. What really was this couple’s crime?
Murder, robbery, serious violations of life and property- Police- nahhh, just gonna trouble consenting adults doing absolutely nothing illegal.https://t.co/YVivFGEKvT
— Flor (@flor_enthus) October 27, 2020
Absurd. Absolutely horrible. Nobody gives the shit about the autonomy of selecting partner or staying away from parents when the person is an adult. I hope they live together happily https://t.co/mp6anQ0yZ7
— wreck gyllen halaal 🏳️🌈 (@udhan_khatola) October 26, 2020
Who really is the culprit?
We have to go a long way in understanding and accepting the rights of LGBTIQ community! Cops, to start with!
Kerala cops take 22-yr-old away from lesbian partner in Chennai, lawyers question move | The News Minute https://t.co/diuKJtIl3M
— இசை (@isai_) October 25, 2020
Wont we ever learn. you cant force a human into something that they cannot digest
If the family wants her to be with a man. that's a recipe for disaster. let her be
Kerala cops take 22-yr-old away from lesbian partner in Chennai, lawyers question movehttps://t.co/MJKJPnU36b
— RJ VISHNU 🚴 BIG FM (@RJVishnu) October 28, 2020
This isn’t an isolated incident. Same-sex couples in the country continue to face exclusion and extreme scrutiny from society at large. The prejudice against the LGBT community persists even as efforts are being made to bring about reforms in our laws and regulations. But who do we point a finger towards when the people of law become lawless?