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Time and again India has made both regressive and progressive statements about its LGBTQ stand. I’ve made peace with the fact that I live in a country that often just ignores the existence of homosexuals and prefers its solidified ‘straight’ bubble. Trying my best on all occasions to write, fight and ignore the situations that arise, I couldn’t keep quiet though, when I came across something this week, that kept me up all night. India is on the #ShameList, trending across social media websites.
Why? Because the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) voted to condemn countries who use death penalty as a punishment for consensual same-sex relations between adults. The resolution being - “The imposition of the death penalty as a sanction for specific forms of conduct, such as apostasy, blasphemy, adultery and consensual same-sex relations”
And guess what? India and 12 other countries (including USA!) did? They voted against the resolution which loosely translates to the fact that India does not care about the people who are killed over loving someone of their own gender.
Here are all the countries who voted against this (Just so you know the company India is keeping): Botswana, Burundi, Egypt, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, China, India, Iraq, Japan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and The United States of America.
And a list of those who voted for it: Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa, Togo, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Albania, Croatia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Slovenia, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador, Panama, Paraguay, Venezuela, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland and The UK.
And through it all, I could only think of one thing - this is not my opinion, this isn’t how I would vote, this isn’t how I see my country progressing, a country I’ve grown to love. Someone could die because the person representing India, believed that same sex consensual relations aren’t right. And not just same sex relations, but death penalty in general is the bigger issue we need to address. When the rapists in this country roam free with just a few years in jail (lifetime imprisonment if it leads to death), how can falling in love be the reason to kill someone?
Thankfully, the resolution was passed. And along with the same-sex consensual relationships, death penalty can no longer be used on people with intellectual disabilities, below 18 years of age at the time of the crime, pregnant women, for apostasy, blasphemy and adultery. With no help from India, of course!
But maybe it’s time we make our intentions clearer. If you don’t agree with something, voice out your opinions. Don’t let those in power make the decisions for you.