Nepal gays hit by Maoist clean up drive
After being persecuted by King's regime and the Govt, Nepal's homosexual community is now at the receiving end.india Updated: Jan 04, 2007 13:21 IST
After being persecuted by King Gyanendra's regime and the new multi-party government, Nepal's homosexual community is now at the receiving end of a society clean up drive launched by Maoist rebels.
The communists, who now freely roam in the capital after they signed a peace accord with the new government of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and had the terrorist tag lifted, have now turned their attention to cleaning "social pollutants", ranging from pornographic films to homosexuality.
Kathmandu's gays, who had joined hands with the Maoists and political parties to oppose King Gyanendra's direct rule, felt the new communist crackdown last month after Maoist cadres went around ordering house owners not to let out rooms to homosexuals and lesbians.
Alarmed at the new diktat, members of the community met the former Maoist commander of Kathmandu valley, known as Sagar, to persuade him to call off the drive.
"We don't want to evict anyone," Sagar told the agency.
"So we have asked house owners to allow tenants. However, we are against any aberrant activity that could have a negative and vitiating effect on society."
The insurgents, who have been campaigning against polygamy, polyandry, infidelity and drunkenness, have a zero tolerance policy towards homosexuality.
Blue Diamond Society, Nepal's only NGO fighting for gay rights, last month met a senior Maoist leader, Dev Gurung, to try and explain the rights of gays, lesbians and transgenders to him.
The rebel leader reportedly told the organisation that homosexuality was a byproduct of capitalism.
"Under Soviet rule and when China was still very much a communist state, there were no homosexuals in the Soviet Union or China," Gurung reportedly said.
"Now they are moving towards capitalism, homosexuals may have arisen there as well.
So homosexuality is a product of capitalism. Under socialism this kind of problem doesn't exist."
When Blue Diamond Society met other Maoist leaders to point out that homosexuals were under attack from Maoist cadres, the reaction was "disheartening", it says.
Homosexuals were once the pet target of security personnel during King Gyanendra's regime.
At the Women Human Rights Defenders' third national consultation, Amrita Thapa, general secretary of Maoists' women's association, said homosexuals were "unnatural" and were "polluting society".
The new government ignored the plight of the community with deputy prime minister KP Oli, who belongs to the powerful Communist party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist, telling the meeting that he was not prepared to talk about homosexuals.
Last month, the UN High Commission for Human Rights called for recognition of changing sexual orientations.
Although Nepal's gay community subsequently petitioned Prime Minister Koirala to heed the UN call and accept gays as part of society with equal rights, the plea so far has gone ignored.