Section 377: More Sangh voices back decriminalisation of gay sex

Section 377: “What Dattatreya-ji said is very clear. Decriminilisation (of gay sex), yes! Glorification, no,” BJP general secretary Ram Madhav stated.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: March 19, 2016 5:59:08 pm
RSS, gay sex, Dattatreya Hosabale, Sangh Parivar, Ram Madhav, Decriminilisation, Decriminilisation gay sex, homosexuality, india news The BJP has been deeply divided on the issue, with a section led by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley advocating decriminalising consensual sex among gay adults, while others such as Home Minister Rajnath Singh contending that the BJP cannot support this “unnatural” act. (Express Photo)

A Day after RSS joint-general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale said that homosexuality is not a crime, more voices from the Sangh Parivar backed decriminalisation of gay sex on Friday, indicating a major shift in Sangh’s stance on the controversial issue.

“What Dattatreya-ji said is very clear. Decriminilisation (of gay sex), yes! Glorification, no,” BJP general secretary Ram Madhav stated. As spokesperson of the RSS in 2014, Madhav had said that criminalisation of homosexuality, as seen in Section 377 of the IPC, is debatable.

Even the BJP, which recently voted against Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s private member’s bill on the subject, also appeared to have softened its stand. “(There is) no need for anything to say after Dattatreyaji’s statement today,” BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma said.

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Having said at the India Today conclave on Thursday that he did not believe homosexuality should be considered a criminal offence so long as it does not affect the lives of others, Hosabale took to the social media on Friday to clarify his stand further. In multiple tweets, he stated, “Homosexuality is not a crime, but socially immoral act in our society. No need to punish, but to be treated as a psychological case….Gay marriage is Institutionalisation of homosexuality. It should be prohibited. Approach to homosexuality should be ‘no criminalisation; no glorification either’.”

While Hosabale could not be reached on Friday, his statement evoked mixed reaction among senior RSS pracharaks. One of them said, “Now (that) we are in government we cannot say on every issue that we don’t want to comment. We have to tell the people our stand on every issue.”

A senior RSS functionary who is closely associated with Hosabale said, “It was must for us to clarify this issue (and) he has rightly clarified our stand.”

The BJP has been deeply divided on the issue, with a section led by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley advocating decriminalising consensual sex among gay adults, while others such as Home Minister Rajnath Singh contending that the BJP cannot support this “unnatural” act. Even on Friday, Vijay Sonkar Shastri, senior BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP, said: “I am feeling sad that the country is debating such an issue. Homosexuality is a crime and unnatural. This kind of vulgarity should not be there. Playing with nature has always cost us dear.”

A senior pracharak said, “We must comment on every issue of national importance. But there are certain things on which we do not need to comment.” Another pracharak said, “He (Hosabale) should have avoided (answering) this question.” Manmohan Vaidya, the RSS prachar pramukh, told The Indian Express, “Whatever Datta-ji tweeted today (Friday) is the Sangh’s official viewpoint.”

Irrespective of the differences over the issue among party leaders, the RSS has clarified its stand on the matter, a senior BJP leader pointed out. “For the RSS, it’s a big, big step,” he added.

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