Tamil Nadu amends law to punish cops for harassing LGBTQ people
Tamil Nadu has amended the legislation that governs it’s police force and inserted a clause banning any harassment of LGBTQIA + people.
Tamil Nadu has amended the legislation that governs it’s police force and inserted a clause banning any harassment of LGBTQIA + (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Asexual) people, likely becoming the first state in India to enact a specific legal provision against police violence on the marginalized community.
The amendment to the Tamil Nadu Subordinate Police Officers’ Conduct Rules was published in the government gazette on Wednesday. It came months after the Madras high court asked the state administration to sensitise the police force about LGBTQIA issues.
“No police officer shall indulge in any act of harassment of any person belonging to the LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual) + Community and the persons working for the welfare of the said community,” said the order issued by the government, signed by additional chief secretary SK Prabhakar.
In September last year, while hearing the petitions of two women who ran away from home after being harassed and bullied by their families, the Madras HC passed a raft of orders to outlaw discrimination and bias against the community. Judge Anand Venkatesh issued specific orders asking the administration to stop police harassment of same-sex couples and said this behaviour stemmed from apathy and lack of awareness.
Activists welcomed the order. “We think this is a very significant order and can help in reducing police violence on our communities. We have already lost so many of our trans brothers and sisters to harassment and brutality. We also face everyday harassment and torture at the hands of policemen. We hope this law is strongly implemented to end this,” said Grace Banu, a Dalit and transgender rights activist.