No, homosexual acts have NOT been decriminalized in India

I know what you are thinking. You must be thinking that I am crazy. Have I not seen the screaming headlines, the saturation coverage, the hashtags of #IndiaRejects377 and so on? How could I have missed the historic Supreme Court verdict?

I haven’t missed anything.

The headlines in the newspapers today that say India has decriminalized homosexuality? All FAKE.

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Homosexual acts were criminal in India yesterday and they still are criminal today.

As long as you consider the state of Jammu and Kashmir to be an integral part of India, that is.

Guess what? The Supreme Court verdict from yesterday has no impact on Indian citizens living in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. You see, the state of J&K is governed by its own penal code that is separate from the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Yesterday’s judgement has thrown two things into sharp focus. First, there is the absurdity of Jammu and Kashmir being governed by an altogether different set of laws (“ek desh mein do vidhaan”). Then, there is the largely left-wing media that has stayed away from talking about this matter, thus becoming conspicuous by their silence.

Why has the press stayed away from reporting the fact that homosexuals in the Muslim majority state of J&K will continue to face dehumanizing treatment under our laws? The reasons are not difficult to imagine.

Is it possible that the media is shying away from reporting on the contradiction between the values of liberty and the views of Muslim majority societies? This is really the second time in a year or so that this contradiction at the heart of the modern Liberal-Islamist mahagathbandhan has been obvious. The last time it was triple talaq. Back then we saw alleged liberals and feminists taking positions on women that could only be described as shocking and regressive of the worst kind. I remember that one “legendary” women’s rights lawyer even said that triple talaq should stay because Muslim men might otherwise be led to murder their wives.

I refuse to think so little either of our law enforcement or Indian Muslim men.

A historic verdict such as yesterday is an opportunity for society to rethink, to clear our collective heads and decide where we stand on issues. I heard some sage advice yesterday against the possible imposition of “majority morality” on fundamental rights of citizens. Which left me puzzled, because the most grumbling against the legalization of homosexual acts appears to have come from “minority” organizations.

In particular, the three organizations that were in favour of 377 in the Supreme Court yesterday were the “Trust of God ministries”, the “Apostolic Alliance of Churches” and “Utkal Christian Association.” I am not quite certain how the names of these organizations came to be associated with the imposition of “majority morality”.

Meanwhile, the All India Mulsim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) is hinting at moving court once again to re-criminalize homosexuality. Earlier the AIMPLB had requested the Govt of India to take a stance in favour of criminalizing gay people, which was rejected by the Central Govt.

It’s time for India to think clearly. Will our liberals take an open and intellectually honest position against the bigotry of the so-called minority groups with whom they have made common cause on virtually every issue? Are our liberals willing to join the charge for gay rights in Muslim majority Jammu and Kashmir? Of course, they can choose to stay silent. They have a right to do so. But if they choose silence, it is our moral duty to expose their hypocrisy. If liberals are all hiding under a desk somewhere hoping that we won’t notice their absence when it comes to gay rights in Jammu and Kashmir, we have to prove them wrong.

Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or not be an Assistant Professor at IISc Bangalore.

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