Remembering Vamshi: It is Laws Such as Section 377 that Make People Kill Themselves

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By Johnlee Varghese | December 12, 2013 12:28 AM EST

It was with much enthusiam and mirth, the 21-year old engineering student Vamshi Raju had participated in the Bangalore Pride Rally on November 25. Dancing along with the others from the sexual minority community, the aim of the rally was to create awareness among the public and families of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders. But for Vamshi, it was his last dance with happiness. He killed himself the next day.

At home late in the evening on that Sunday, Vamshi was greeted with abuses and curses. His family saw the TV footage of their transgender son openly associating with the others from his community. A fight broke out at home, and allegedly his father even beat him up.

Finally crumbling under the years of rejections and pain, he gave up and consumed poison. The police reports said he had taken the poison at 2.30 am and was found convulsing in pain the next day morning by his parents. By then it was too late and the hospital declared him as brought dead. The police took it up as a case of unnatural death.

The suicide note simply said he was taking the step as he was 'unable to be a good son; and that his academic records were not up to the mark'. Hence the police found it none to blame, and it ended an open and shut and case. And probably by now the file will now be lying among the hundreds of other similar files gathering dust.

Following his death, human right groups revealed that on several occasions the 21-year-old had faced severe physical violence at the hands of his father and had to seek shelter in a transgender friend's house.

Vamshi died in pain and alone, and so will many other Vamshis of India, who bear the trauma and stigma of seclusion, just because of their sexual orientation.

On 11 December 2013, the Supreme Court of India had the chance to make the decision that necessarily would have ensured that the LGBTs would not be treated with ridicule or be discriminated or considered an abomination. But now it will indeed stay as a day, when the sovereign state of India failed to ensure the right to equality to the Vamshis of this socialist, democratic country.

The Suprem Court bench after passing the order stated that the Indian Parliament is authorised to delete section 377 of IPC but till the time the penal provision is there, the court cannot legalise gay sexual relationship.

The Delhi High Court had on July 2, 2009 decriminalised gay sex as provided in Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and had ruled that sex between two consenting adults in private would not be an offence. The order was,however,challenged by several Indian religious associations. Now with the Supreme Court verdict, gay sex has been ruled illegal and a crime as Section 377 (unnatural offences) of IPC makes gay sex a criminal offence entailing punishment upto life imprisonment.

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