While the gay community celebrates the legalising of gay sex, many religious organisations in Mumbai are fuming. Many plan to appeal against the ruling in the Supreme Court.
“Homosexuality is harmful to humanity and is against Indian spirituality and culture,” said Nazar Madu, secretary, Jamat-E-Islami-Hind. “We will move court and try to mould public opinion against it.”
The Catholic Secular Forum feared that legalising homosexuality would lead to an explosion in the population of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)-infected people. “There are 4.5 million ‘men who have sex with men’(MSM) across India considering that 86 per cent of HIV/AIDS-affected persons belong to this group. If Section 377 is repealed, the situation will get worse,” said a press release issued by the forum.
The forum will initially approach the Cental Government, especially the National AIDS Control Organisation, the Law Commission of India, the Union Health Ministry, the National Human Rights Commission and the Planning Commission, which have either implicitly or expressly supported the repeal of the law.
Other organisations like the Hindu Jana Jagriti Sangh will support this move. “I am extremely sad. It is unethical, unnatural, unspiritual. Neither does it fit in with Hindu dharma nor with Indian culture. It will be detrimental to future generations,” said Shivaji Vatkar, chairman of the sangh.
A section of straight ‘homophobic’ men were also unhappy with the verdict. They were worried that the gay community may misuse the freedom given to them. “I just don’t want anyone to get up-close and personal with me; I have experienced this before. When I can be accommodating and accept people like them, why can’t they respect other people’s private space? I am afraid that such practices will increase with Section 377 going,” said hotel management graduate Abhishek Hatkar.
Media professional Sagar Sarang (23) said he was worried about the effect the verdict would have on future generations. “Children have grown up with the concept of mom and dad. So now, if there is only dad and dad, one parent will be always missing,” he said.