Human and gay rights organisations, including UNAIDS, the United Nations’ AIDS body, have condemned the arrest of four men on charges of homosexuality in northern India. The men were also arrested for running an online gay club.

Homosexuality is technically illegal in India but is generally ignored by authorities – the larger cities boasting some element of gay social life. Nevertheless, convictions can result in up to ten years in prison. A government report has recommended the legalisation of homosexuality, but no action to do so has yet been taken.

The four men were arrested by police in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh state, who said that the online club had hundreds of members, and had links to international lesbian and gay sites. A spokesperson for the police said that, “The members would meet in private and public places and indulge in unnatural acts”.

Denis Broun, UNAIDS India coordinator, was reported as calling for the repeal of “archaic” laws banning homosexuality, saying that, “We’re concerned at the arrest of a number of men who have sex with men in Lucknow.” He added that the actions only further stigmatised people at risk of contracting HIV, ultimately fuelling the AIDS epidemic.

India is second after South Africa in terms of number of HIV cases.

Get the Mamba Newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend