Press statement - Section 377 must be scrapped

December 18, 2013
Press statement
‘Section 377 must be scrapped’

We, the undersigned, are shocked by the Supreme Court verdict which, instead of affirming the fundamental constitutional principle of non-discrimination between citizens, criminalises homosexuality. 

We stand with the national and global community of LGBT individuals and organisations, human rights and civil liberties groups, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and democratic governments in damning the regressive ruling which reduces India to a lesser, narrow-minded, intolerant democracy.

We demand immediate action from legislators across the political spectrum for scrapping the obnoxious Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code – a legacy of the colonial era – to decriminalise same sex relations between consenting adults.

We applaud political leaders and parties which have spoken out against the apex court’s ruling. We condemn the shameful support of the latest verdict by leaders from the BJP (including its prime ministerial aspirant) and the Samajwadi Party, and silence on the issue by some other parties.

We call upon religious leaders from different faiths – who had spoken with one voice against the earlier progressive ruling of the Delhi High Court and who are now celebrating the judgment of the Supreme Court – to reflect upon the wise words of Pope Francis: “Who are we to judge?” In his paradigm-shifting interview in September, the Pope has bemoaned the fact the Catholic Church was “obsessed” with the issue of homosexuality. 

We urge the high priests of other religions too to exorcise themselves of the same obsession.

We would like to remind religious leaders that India is a secular democracy, not a theocracy. While the clergy is entitled to its views on what does or does not constitute a sin, it must realise that in a democracy punishments are only prescribed for crimes, not for sins. So they should stop playing god.

We emphatically assert that same sex relations between consenting adults is not a crime and those engaging in it are no less human than heterosexuals. They must be respected as equals. Leave alone their being treated as criminals, any kind of discrimination against them is entirely unacceptable.

1.      Javed Anand, Muslims for Secular Democracy
2.      Hasina Khan, Muslim Women’s Rights Network
3.      Nandita Das
4.      Mohammed Zubair Saifi
5.      Noorjehan Safia Naaz, Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan
6.      Irfan Engineer
7.      Vahida Nainar, Women's Research and Action group
8.      Sameera Khan
9.      Anjum Rajabali
10.  Awaaz-e-Niswaan
11.  Sabah Khan -Muslim women's rights Network
12.  P.K. Shajahan, Tata Institute of Social Science
13.  Aquila Khan
14.  Farrukh Waris
15.  Sukla Sen, Committee for Communal Amity (Ekta)
16.  Jyoti Punwani
17.  Vrijendra
18.  Rohini Hensman
19.  Ram Puniyani
20.  Nasreen Fazelbhoy
21.  Atul Tiwari

22.  Zafar Bakht
23.  Shooby Bakht
24.  Anshu Malviya
25.  Utpala Shukla

26.  Kasim Sait
27.  Kareem Sait
28.  Dr Zaheer Ahmed Sayeed
29.  Farhan Shaikh
30.  Jawwad Mohammed

31.  Noor Zaheer
32.  Zakia Soman, Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan
33.  Dilip Simeon
34.  Sonia Jabbar
35.  Jamal Kidwai
36.  Ira Singh
37.  Nasiruddin Hyder
38.  Antara Dev Sen
39.  Harsh Kapoor

40.  Jameela Nishat, Shaheen Women Resource & Welfare Association (Hyderabad).
41.  Asma Begum, Shaheen Women Resource & Welfare Association (Hyderabad).
42.  Mazher Hussain (Hyderabad).

43.  Salim Kidwai
44.  Hamida Khatoon, Sanatkada
45.  Fauzia Khan, AALI

46.  Rebecca Kurian (Bangalore)
47.  Dhirendra Sharma, (Dehradun, UP)
48.  Reshma Bohra Sahiyar (Gujarat)
49.  Azma Aziz, Muhim (Farrukhabad, UP)
50.  Shadab Jahan, Astitva, (Muzaffarnagar, UP)
51.  Rupina Patel Muslim Mahila Manch, (Nagpur)
52.  Anvar Rajan, Pragatisheel Muslim Andolan (Pune)
53.  Ghulam Mohiyuddin (New York, USA)
54.  Najid Hussain (USA)
55.  Javid Syed (New York, USA)
56.  Mohammed Imran
57.  G. T. Verghese
58.  A. Mani
59.  Nirupa Bhangar
60.  Nazma Iqbal, Pehchan Samajik Sanstha (Uttarakhand)
61.  Fatima Shahroz, (UP)
62.  Sumati Sudhakar
63.  Ayesha Khatoon

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