Nepal's gays caught between rapes and raids Sudeshna Sarkar (Indo-Asian News Service) Kathmandu, August 11 As Kathmandu Police raided eight so-called massage parlours in the capital and arrested six couples caught in compromising positions, another branch of the force was rounding up homosexuals.
While 31 people were arrested in the massage parlour raids Monday, 39 gays were picked up from streets, discos and restaurants and put behind bars. By Tuesday evening, at least one person arrested in the parlour raids was released but none of the gays. Not even a detainee who had a finger reportedly broken in a baton blow by the police. Sunil Pant, founder and president of Blue Diamond Society, a Kathmandu-based gay rights organisation, fears this is part of a concerted effort by militant anti-gay groups and individuals to stamp out the recently started gay movement in Nepal. "In the patriarchal Nepalese society, any male person not conforming to accepted norms of masculine behaviour is deemed unworthy and available for exploitation," says Pant. "Though Nepal has a significant homosexual population, the community has been in the closet for a long time due to social stigma and oppression. "Their invisibility lifted to some degree since 2000 when Blue Diamond Society started working with male homosexuals on HIV and AIDS as part of the AIDS control policy of the government. "But now there is a backlash from a section of society still holding on to a mediaeval mindset." Pant cites a string of incidents where 'metis', or men with feminine characteristics, have been subjected to abuse and violence. Many of these incidents, he adds, show active participation by government agencies, like police and security forces. One of the most serious attacks occurred last week when a gay was abducted from the streets in the early hours of the morning, raped, slashed in the throat and left bleeding on the road. He is still in hospital. No one has been arrested. In June, three men were picked up and taken to a guesthouse where they were raped at knifepoint and assaulted. Though police arrested two people, the case is still pending. For Pant, as worrisome as the attacks is a writ petition filed by a lawyer last month. The petition is against the government, alleging it is allowing people's morals to be corrupted by not closing down Blue Diamond Society. The Supreme Court, where the writ petition as been filed, has asked the government to show cause why the society should not be closed down. Pant says the attacks against the gay community are being monitored by several foreign diplomats whose governments are concerned at the anti-gay, anti-liberal sentiments and government complicity. Currently, he is trying to mobilise a signature campaign and is asking people to send letters to various ministerial and police departments. "The government needs to stand up to its commitment to human rights," Pant says. "They (needs to) treat all Nepalese, including métis, with dignity." --Indo-Asian News Service ------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor --------------------~--> Make a clean sweep of pop-up ads. Yahoo! Companion Toolbar. Now with Pop-Up Blocker. Get it for free! http://us.click.yahoo.com/L5YrjA/eSIIAA/yQLSAA/WfTolB/TM --------------------------------------------------------------------~-> Group Site: http://www.gaybombay.info ========================== NEW CLASSIFIEDS SECTION SEEKING FRIENDS? VISIT www.gaybombay.info click on classified section and type your message in the post section once the link opens What's hot? What's not? Where are the LGBT parties being held and when? Click here!! http://calendar.yahoo.com/YYY,04497/srt,0/gaybombaygroup/?v=42&POS= Yahoo! Groups Links <*> To visit your group on the web, go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gay_bombay/ <*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to: [EMAIL PROTECTED] <*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to: http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/