Homosexuality might be legal in India, but it's still a long way off from being acceptable. The recent case of a 23-year-old lesbian woman amply proves what's legal might still be considered immoral. The woman has been given police protection when, after being forcibly married to a man, she was threatened with treatments and cures of her sexual orientation by her family.
A Delhi Court, on March 10, ordered police to provide "complete protection" to the woman from harassment by her own family members. The court also stated that an adult woman cannot be forced to stay with either her own biological family or her husband's family against her wishes. The woman belongs to the Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand.
The woman fled from her husband's home on March 7 after being told by her mother that she would be 'cured' of her sexual orientation by a religious guru. After fleeing she sought help from NGO Anhad, a Delhi-based non-government organisation. She was referred to another non-government organisation Shakti Shalini which offered her both protection and shelter till her case came up for hearing in the court.
The woman was offered the choice of either coming back to the native village and staying there or her husband will be remarried and she'll be forced to stay with his 'new family.'
Family threats, legal protection and alleged police complicity
As per the woman's petition, her mother said that the religious guru in question will perform 'psychic rituals' and interventions to change her orientation. It is to flee these dehumanizing rituals that she ran away from her home state. The petition also mentions that the police leaked the information of her whereabouts to the family. Thereby jeopardising her safety and the safety of the NGO. As per the petition, the activists at the NGO were also subjected to harassment, threats and legal intimidation by the family members.
The woman was married in October 2019 even after she told her parents about her sexual orientation. Her husband, who has also been meted out injustice, has been supportive throughout. He was present at the court hearing on Wednesday and is willing to dissolve the marriage. The woman is being represented by Advocate Vrinda Grover and the matter will next come up for hearing on March 25.
Where does the buck stop?
From the alleged police complicity to family's ignorance to societal set-up, who is to be blamed here? The question is one, but answers are many amid social evils galore. Some felt the family members should have been jailed, others would rather the girl gets justice and protection as seen below: