The organisers of a private ‘queer event’ held recently in Pune have complained of police harassment. They have alleged that around 150 members of the LGBTQ community were locked inside the venue of the event for half an hour by the police without a warrant on July 9. The organisers from Mist LGBTQ Foundation said they have written to Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta highlighting the issue.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Shyam Konnur, founder-director of Mist LGBTQ Foundation, said: “The police are allowed to check if we have not done something right but our concern is the way they behaved and proceeded to use homophobic and derogatory statements… They can cover it up by stating that they received a tip-off whereas the cause for worry is how they treat a certain community. The courts have also said not to discriminate…”
In an official letter to the police commissioner, Mist LGBTQ Foundation wrote, “…on the July 9th 2022 evening hours, when the police officer, Tejas Chopde dressed in mufti came with a woman and demanded entry. On informing them it was a private LGBTQ event, the officer pushed the bouncer showing his ID card and forced him to stop the music at the gathering using derogatory words like… ‘weirdly dressed people.’”
“We request that appropriate action should be taken against officer Tejas Chopde, or do let us know how do we take this forward legally. We have attached the pictures of the officers involved and the vehicle number these officers have travelled,” the letter further stated.
“We could only submit the letter on Tuesday morning and we are hoping for a revert. We are also looking at getting support from other like-minded organisations,” said Konnur.
When contacted, Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta said, “Everybody has the right to dignity. We are looking into the complaint. If there are lacunae on the part of an official, we will initiate necessary action and also start remedial measures.”