WOMEN’S GROUPS CONDEMN ATTACKS ON KOTHIS

WOMEN’S GROUPS CONDEMN ATTACKS ON KOTHIS

Newsletter Jan – Apr 2007

We are shocked to hear about the attack on 3 kothis in Kolkata a few days ago. Seen as ‘effeminate’ men with ‘perverse’ sexual desires for men, once again kothis have had to face brutality. They were going to a park when they were attacked by a gang of 20-25 unidentified men. The brutal attack has left all of them bruised and injured, and one of them, Dhiman Roy, has sustained serious injuries. Needless to say, all of them and the community at large are deeply traumatised by the attack.

The entire episode is being portrayed by the police as a stray incident, but we all are aware that such incidents of hate crimes against those who are seen to break social rules relating to who can desire whom and how men and women should look and behave happen all the time, all over the country. In most cases, the victims of such crimes are silenced and unable to seek justice due to both, the climate of intolerance against those oppressed on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity that exists all around, as well as the increased vulnerability of sexual minorities caused by Sec. 377 of the IPC - an archaic law that criminalises even consensual same-sex sexual activity.

As women’s groups, we condemn this act of gender based violence and express our solidarity with all those who suffer oppression because of their gender identity and sexual orientation. We also assert their right to safety and justice at par with every citizen in the country.

In this particular incident, we demand the police take action in identifying and proceeding with the due course of law against the attackers, without any delay. We also demand that in the future, prompt action should be taken against people who intimidate, harass and blackmail people of different sexual orientations.

We lend our support and lodge our protest!

Saheli, Nirantar, Sama, Rahi, North East Network and Jagori (New Delhi), Aalochana Centre for Documentation and Research on Women (Pune) , Olakh (Baroda), Sahiyar Stree Sanghthan, (Gujarat), Swayam (Kolkata), Vanangana (Uttar Pradesh), Awaaz-e-Niswaan, Akshara, Forum Against Oppression of Women (FAOW), Lesbians and Bisexuals in Action (LABIA), Point of View, Vacha and Women’s Centre (Mumbai), SANGRAM and VAMP (Maharashtra), Tamil Nadu Women’s Collective, Tamil Nadu Resource Team and Kalanjium Unorganised Workers’ Union (Tamil Nadu).