Years After Sec 377, Gay Couples Fight for Freedom. 22-Year-Old Woman Forced Out of Girlfriend’s House by Cops

Social Commentary

Years After Sec 377, Gay Couples Fight for Freedom. 22-Year-Old Woman Forced Out of Girlfriend’s House by Cops

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

Although Sec 377 was decriminalised two years ago, members of the LGBTQ+ community still continue to face discrimination. In a shocking incident, a 22-year-old from Kerala was forcibly taken away from her girlfriend’s house and sent back to her parents by the police. The woman had been consensually living with her partner for the last 20 days.

The questionable incident occurred in Chennai, wherein two police officers – from Kerala and Chennai – tracked down the 22-year-old after her parents registered a missing complaint. Hailing from Kozhikode, the girl had run away after her parents had strongly opposed her relationship with another woman.

The same-sex couple have violated no laws. On what grounds then, did the cops force the girl, identified as Ananya (name changed), out of her partner’s house?

The couple met on TikTok, fell in love, and decided to move in. Ananya’s partner complained, “She is a major and can choose not to go back. But she was taken away.”

“They (the police) asked me certain questions. They said they needed to produce her before the Magistrate in Kerala and then let her off according to what she says,” she added.

Looking at the grim situation the women found themselves in, they sought help from a lawyer, Akila RS. A member of the International Foundation for Crime Prevention and Victim Care (PCVC), a Chennai-based organisation that works for women and the LGBTQ community, the lawyer pointed out that when they tried to intervene and speak to the cops, the officers completely refused to pay heed to their requests.

“In this case, the Tamil Nadu police should have ascertained from Ananya, if she was living in Chennai voluntarily. They should have completed the investigation, recorded her statement and informed the Kerala police. Besides, there was sufficient age-proof to show she is an adult. However, that did not happen,” Advocate Akila said. Unfortunately, the woman was denied the opportunity to even seek legal advice on the matter.

On Sunday, Ananya was produced in the court before the Magistrate via video conferencing and later sent back home with her father. “She told the female police officer that she will stay with her parents for 10 days and return to Chennai,” Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP), Thamarassey told The News Minute.

Netizens have expressed their outrage at how the police dealt with the situation. What really was this couple’s crime?

Who really is the culprit?

This isn’t an isolated incident. Same-sex couples in the country continue to face exclusion and extreme scrutiny from society at large. The prejudice against the LGBT community persists even as efforts are being made to bring about reforms in our laws and regulations. But who do we point a finger towards when the people of law become lawless?