The Congress’ promise to give sexual minorities their right, as part of its election manifesto released on Wednesday, evoked a “sense of hope” amongst a section of the homosexual community in the city. Social media was abuzz with people welcoming the move, even as others from the community remained sceptical about it.
The Aam Aadmi Party had on Monday said that decriminalising homosexuality would be a part of their election manifesto. Communist Party of India (Marxist) too came out in favour of scrapping Section 377, and on Thursday released its manifesto where it pitched for gay rights.
The ‘Protection of Human Rights’ section of the Congress manifesto reads, “The Indian National Congress will enact a law to ensure that consensual sexual relations between adults of the same sex are not criminalised.”
Harish Iyer, a LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer) rights activist, said that after two setbacks from the Supreme Court last year, the inclusion of gay rights in the manifestos of political parties gave the community some hope that the issue of decriminalising Section 377 might be taken up in the Parliament. The Supreme Court, last year, struck down the 2009 verdict of the Delhi High Court, which decriminalised homosexuality. The Centre then filed a review petition in the SC, which was again struck down by the apex court.
Dhamini Ratnam, a journalist who writes on LGBT issues, said the community was happy that a political party finally put gay rights on paper.
“BJP is asking me for my vote but is not clear on its stand on homosexuality. While we are happy that Congress and other parties have made it a part of their manifesto, we wonder when a discussion on the same will be initiated in the parliament, if at all,” she said.