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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2015 11:33 pm 
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Indian police say toddler and 5-year-old raped in New Delhi
By Siddhartha Kumar
17 October 2015

New Delhi (dpa) - A toddler and a 5-year-old girl were raped in separate attacks in New Delhi, police said Saturday, sparking outrage in the Indian capital.

A 2-and-a-half-year-old girl was abducted and sexually assaulted by two men in west Delhi on Friday evening, police officer Pushpendra Kumar told reporters. She was found unconscious and bleeding in a park near her home hours later, her parents said. No arrests have yet been made.

In another incident, police arrested three suspects in connection with the gang rape of a 5-year-old girl in east Delhi on Friday. Both minors were being treated in hospital, where doctors described their condition as stable.

The brutal sexual assaults come a week after the rape and torture of a 4-year-old girl in New Delhi, and have triggered fresh outrage in the city. "Repeated rape of minors is shameful and worrying. Delhi police has completely failed to provide safety," Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said. "When will Delhi wake up? Till when will girls continue to be brutalized in Indian capital. Gangrape of 2.5 year n 5 year old. Shameful," Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal wrote on Twitter.

In 2012, the fatal gang rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi led to a massive public outcry and tougher laws. In September, three men were sentenced to 20 years in jail for the gang rape of a Japanese tourist in Jaipur.

In 2014, 36,735 rapes were reported to the police, of which 2,096 were in the national capital, according to the National Crime Records Bureau data.

Source: dpa

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 9:01 am 
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Gay rights activists march in New Delhi parade
29 November 2015

NEW DELHI (AP) -- Hundreds of gay rights activists danced to drum beats and held colorful balloons as they marched in a parade in New Delhi on Sunday, celebrating what they call the diversity of gender and sexuality.

Organizers said that while the gay pride parade celebrated the gains India's LGBT community has made in recent years, they also wanted to highlight the continuing discrimination it faces. The Delhi Queer Pride Committee also demanded the repeal of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalizes homosexual acts.

Over the past decade, homosexuals have gained a degree of acceptance in parts of deeply conservative India, especially in big cities. Many bars have gay nights, and some high-profile Bollywood films have dealt with gay issues. Still, being gay is seen as shameful in most of the country, and many homosexuals remain closeted.

On Sunday, Harsh Aggarwal, who runs a digital marketing company in New Delhi, said that there has been progress, though it has come slowly. "But it's happening," he said. "There are more people who are coming out without masks. Society also is respecting us. That's the progress," he said.

Activists had cheered in 2009 when the New Delhi High Court declared Section 377 of the Penal Code unconstitutional. But the judgment was overturned four years later when India's Supreme Court decided that amending or repealing Section 377 should be a matter left to Parliament, not the judiciary.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2016 6:56 am 
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India parliament blocks MP's bill to decriminalise gay sex
December 18, 2015

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Indian members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community attend a Rainbow Pride Walk in Kolkata on December 13, 2015 (AFP Photo/Dibyangshu Sarkar)

Parliamentarians from India's right-wing government on Friday blocked a private member's bill to decriminalise gay sex, in a setback for sexual freedom in the world's biggest democracy.

Shashi Tharoor, a lawmaker from the opposition Congress party, sought to table a bill to amend section 377 of the Indian penal code, which bans homosexual acts as "carnal intercourse against the order of nature".

But the move failed after the lower house of parliament, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi's right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party holds a majority, voted 71-24 against it, while others walked out. "This is not about homosexuality as the opposition has caricatured it. It is about freedom, justice, equality of treatment and upholding the values enshrined in our Constitution," Tharoor told AFP. "This law is from the 1860s and it has no place in the 21st century nor in people's private lives or in their bedrooms," he added.

Gay sex was effectively decriminalised in India in 2009 when the Delhi High Court ruled that prohibiting it was a violation of a person's fundamental rights. But in 2013 India's Supreme Court restored the colonial-era ban on homosexuality, ruling that the responsibility for changing the 1861 law rested with lawmakers and not judges.

Section 377 of the country's penal code states that "whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished" with possible sentences including life imprisonment, though prosecutions for same-sex activity have been rare.

The gay community, however, says it faces significant discrimination as well as harassment from the police in socially conservative India.

A former high-flying UN diplomat, Tharoor termed the rejection of his bill as an act of "intolerance" by the lower house. Tharoor, a member of parliament for the southern state of Kerala, said Friday was only his first attempt to introduce the bill. "There will be another attempt in which we will be better prepared for the opposition," he said. "Justice doesn't always prevail in the first attempt."

Source: Yahoo! AFP.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2016 9:33 pm 
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India gets 'first' gay marriage bureau
21 March 2016

An Indian entrepreneur has set up what is claimed to be the country's first gay marriage bureau, seeking to arrange matches for homosexual couples.

Benhur Samson, who previously helped foreign gay couples use surrogacy services, said he founded the agency in response to interest from clients. "I was surprised to see the response from the gay people whom I came in touch with while counselling them on surrogacy issue," he told AFP. "This is how I came upon the idea of a marriage bureau for gay men and women who want to settle down with a partner."

Samson, who lives in the United States, has enlisted the help of Manvendrasingh Gohil, an openly gay Indian prince, to help sort out immigration issues. "Several gay people of Indian origin wanted an arranged marriage and were looking for partners from India," he said. "We already got over 200 enquiries and nearly two dozen people have enrolled with us. We are now in the process of identifying the right match for them."

Enrolment costs $5,000, an unthinkably high sum for most Indians, although the fee is refundable if no match is found. The agency conducts background checks, visits prospective partners at home and at work and provides counselling, Samson said. "I have not heard about such gay marriage bureau anywhere else (in India)," said Gohil, who is also a gay rights activist.

Gay marriage and gay sex are both illegal in the conservative country and homosexuality has long been a taboo subject.

Source: Yahoo! AFP

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 11:59 am 
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5 Indians who raped Danish tourist get life prison sentence
10 June 2016

NEW DELHI (AP) -- Five Indians who raped a Danish tourist after she asked for directions in New Delhi were sentenced to life in prison Friday for the attack two years ago that highlighted the plague of sexual violence in the country.

Judge Ramesh Kumar said the convicts, aged 23 to 30, were guilty of gang rape, kidnapping, wrongful confinement and criminal intimidation. Dinesh Sharma, the attorney for the defendants, sought leniency, saying the convicts came from poor backgrounds. The men had pleaded not guilty and can appeal the verdict.

Police said the 51-year-old woman approached several vagabonds on the night of Jan. 14, 2014, to ask for directions back to her hotel near Connaught Place, a popular shopping area in the capital. Nine attackers took her to a secluded spot, robbed her and raped her repeatedly at knifepoint. One of the convicts was found with the victim's glasses case and 1,000 rupees ($15) in cash.

One of the accused men died during trial in February. Three who were younger than 18 at the time of the attack were handed to the Juvenile Justice Board to remain in custody until they are 18 and reformed.

Violence against women in India has caused increasing alarm since the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old Indian physiotherapy student in New Delhi in 2012. Several foreign tourists also have been targeted in attacks that often get international attention, although Indian women are assaulted far more frequently.

Public fury over the 2012 rape case led to more stringent laws that doubled prison terms for rape to 20 years and criminalized voyeurism and stalking. But many women say daily indignities and abuse continue unabated and that the new laws have not made the streets any safer.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2016 2:23 pm 
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Muslim women campaign to end instant divorce in India
By RISHABH R. JAIN and MANISH MEHTA
2 July 2016

MUMBAI, India (AP) -- Just hours after Shagufta Sayyd was married, her new husband told her he was having a relationship with another woman.

He was clear the two would have no future, the 21-year-old Sayyd said. He was only marrying her to please his mother. "He said, 'no, I don't want to keep you,'" she said. "So he said, 'divorce, divorce, divorce, three times, and that was it."

Sayyd still insists on using her husband's surname, until she can end the marriage officially in an Indian court. But like many other women from India's large Sunni Muslim minority, her fate and status are governed by Muslim Personal Law that follows the tenets of the Islamic faith, as interpreted by local imams and religious schools across India.

The so-called triple talaq, or instant divorce, has been banned in more than 20 Muslim countries, including neighboring Pakistan and Bangladesh. But in India, the practice is allowed thanks to the country's rules protecting Muslim, Christian and Hindu communities following religious law.

Most of the 170 million Muslims in India are Sunnis governed by Muslim Personal Law for family matters and disputes. Those laws include allowing men to divorce their wives by simply uttering the word "talaq," or divorce in Urdu, three times - and not necessarily consecutively, but at any time, and by any medium including telephone, text message or social media post.

Some women are fed up with what they say is an archaic and patriarchal rule that too often leaves them destitute. Muslim women do not have the same right, and those left by their husbands have no claim to alimony though they can collect a small payment for three months after divorce.

Then, they're on their own. "They have been divorced by speed post, by sending out letters. Some have just simply said "talaq" three times and the divorce has happened," Noorjehan Safia Niaz, co-founder of Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, or the Indian Muslim Women's Movement.

The movement has been fighting for equal laws for Muslim women for six years. "There are cases where women don't even know that they've been divorced," Niaz said. "The children are without any support. So, it has become very convenient for Muslim men to just say talaq thrice and it is just so easy for him to get the woman out of his life."

Legal experts say the practice is unconstitutional, and the Supreme Court has been pushing for uniformity in laws. In 1985, the top court ruled ordered a man to pay alimony to his elderly wife, after verbally divorcing and abandoning her.

The Indian government in office at the time, however, managed to overturn the verdict retroactively by passing a law to protect Muslim divorce law. Many suspect the government was under pressure from Muslim leaders to stay out of their business or lose their electoral support.

The move frustrated women's rights activists. India had long since banned dowry payments from a girl's parents to the family of a groom before marriage, though many still practice the ancient Hindu tradition openly, they note. And more recently, India threw out Hindu laws that barred women from inheriting property from their fathers.

What makes the instant divorce laws so difficult, some say, is the fact that they are not codified and so are open to interpretation and adjustment. One Supreme Court lawyer called the practice "barbaric." "This is a kind of an ISIS-like rule prevailing in India," the advocate, Monika Arora, said, referring to the militant Islamic State that controls much of Syria and Iraq. "No progressive country can tolerate this."

Earlier this month, the women's movement collected more than 50,000 signatures, calling for a nationwide ban on instant divorces. That petition was being added as evidence in an appeal filed to the Supreme Court to ban instant divorces. The court has asked the central government for its opinion before scheduling a hearing.

Since the 1950s, "Hindu personal law has been constantly evolving and codified," Arora said. "Why this 'touch-me-not' perception for Muslim laws?" She said India should follow the example set by other Islamic nations, including Turkey, Cyprus, Pakistan and Bangladesh, in banning the triple talaq.

But there is sure to be resistance. Some Islamic bodies, including the hardline Raza Academy based in Mumbai, say any women who dislike the laws of Islam can always leave the religion. One academy cleric, Mohammad Saeed Noori, said it was possible that men were not performing the triple talaq correctly. "Don't give three altogether in one go. People who do that are doing it wrong," Noori said. But "if he says it thrice, then the divorce is immediately confirmed. Then that woman has to immediately leave his house."

Jain reported from New Delhi.
Source: AP

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2016 9:06 am 
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India arrests 2 for allegedly raping woman for 2nd time
20 July 2016

NEW DELHI (AP) -- Police in northern India say they've arrested two men for raping a young woman for the second time in three years after she refused to withdraw a police complaint against them.

Senior police officer Sanjay Kumar Singh says the victim, in her early 20s, is in stable condition in a hospital. The woman was first raped in 2013. Three men were arrested, and two were freed on bail pending the outcome of the trial. Singh said Wednesday that those two raped the woman again on July 13 in a town in Haryana state.

The crime highlights the persistence of violence against women in India despite a public outcry following the 2012 gang rape of a woman aboard a bus in New Delhi that led to stronger laws against sexual assault.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2016 6:26 pm 
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India detains suspects in gang rape of woman, daughter
By BISWAJEET BANERJEE
31 July 2016

LUCKNOW, India (AP) -- Police in northern India said Sunday that they have detained 15 suspects after a woman and her 14-year-old daughter were gang-raped off a busy highway, the latest incident of sexual violence to shock the country.

The attack took place Friday night near the town of Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh state after the car the victims were traveling in was stopped by a gang of men with an iron rod, said senior local police official Daljeet Choudhary.

The men dragged the woman, the daughter and three male relatives who were traveling with them to a nearby field. They then tied up the males and raped the woman and the daughter, Choudhary said. He said several police teams were at work to ensure that the attackers were identified quickly. He gave no details about the detained men. The family was also robbed of money, jewelry and their cellphones.

The attack, which caused outrage across India, highlights the persistence of violence against women in the country despite tougher laws against sexual assault that were imposed following the December 2012 death of a young woman who was gang-raped on a bus in New Delhi.

After Friday's attack, opposition lawmakers in Uttar Pradesh accused the state government of failing to protect women and children. Akhilesh Yadav, the chief minister of the state, asked local police to ensure that the attackers are identified and arrested quickly.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 1:54 pm 
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Gay rights activists march in annual New Delhi parade
27 November 2016

NEW DELHI (AP) -- Hundreds of gay rights activists marched in a parade in New Delhi on Sunday, highlighting the continuing discrimination India's LGBT community faces and demanding the repeal of a law criminalizing homosexual acts.

As they marched to the beat of drums, some participants in the annual gay pride parade said much has changed in recent years, with people starting to accept them. But others said India's right-wing government is against the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Activists had cheered in 2009 when the New Delhi High Court declared as unconstitutional Section 377 of the Penal Code, which criminalizes homosexual acts. But the judgment was overturned four years later when India's Supreme Court decided that amending or repealing Section 377 should be left to Parliament, not the judiciary. The law makes gay sex punishable by up to 10 years in prison. "There has been a lot of change, and we have gone back also," said Saurav Jain, a 33-year-old architect who attended the parade.

Rituparna Borah, an activist, was not very hopeful, saying that the Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not supportive of gay rights. "We have yet to have an inclusive society," she said.

Over the past decade, homosexuals have gained a degree of acceptance in India, especially in big cities. Many bars have gay nights, and some high-profile Bollywood films have dealt with gay issues. Still, being gay is seen as shameful in most of the country, and many homosexuals remain closeted.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 11:19 pm 
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India asks states to allow transgender choice in bathrooms
6 April 2017

NEW DELHI (AP) -- India's government has asked all states to let transgendered people use any public toilet of their choice.

The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation issued guidelines earlier this week that asked state governments to make an effort to see that transgender people are recognized as equal citizens. It said transgender people should be allowed to use the facility of their choice in community or public toilets.

The rights group Sangama said Thursday that the government's decision was a good start, though it needed to be backed by a strong education campaign to change attitudes toward the transgender community, which faced a lot of discrimination in India.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 6:06 pm 
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Indian state of Kerala to host first state-level transgender athletics meet
10 April 2017

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, India -- For Shyama S, it was almost a routine to shy away from sports meets in her school days. She was quite sure that her 'feminine' way of walking and gestures would turn her into an object of ridicule for the audience. Almost 8 years after leaving school, Shyama, a transgender, gets a platform to relive her dreams to stage her skills in athletics as the city gears up to host the first ever athletic meet of a transgender community in India on April 28.

"Why do you run like a woman? This was a common question encountered by many of us and the fear of mockery forces us to stay away from sports days in schools and colleges. Even though we have made our presence felt in the cultural spaces and showcased our talents like in mimicry, dance, mono act and so on, we were never given a platform to explore and experience our skills in sports until now. This event will be a revival of dreams for many including me," said 25-year-old Shyama, who has just completed MEd. "The transgender sports meet will be an experience as well as opportunity for everyone in the community," said Shyama who is also a member of the organizing committee.

The state-level sports meet, which is conducted by the Kerala State Sports Council in a bid to bring members of the transgender community to the mainstream, will include items like sprint in 100m, 200m, 400m, 4x100m, relay, shot put and long jump.

"This will be the first ever transgender sports meet which is an initiative of a state government (in India). We are expecting around 20 participants from each district and the representatives of each district will compete among each other. Also, a three-day warm up and coaching in different items will be given to the participants in their respective districts," said Anil Arjunan, event coordinator.

The state-level sports meet will be conducted on April 28 at the Central Stadium at Palayam. The organizing committee includes chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan as the chief patron, and minister for sports and youth affairs A C Moideen, tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran, V S Sivakumar MLA and mayor V K Prasanth as other patrons.

Source: Times of India

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 6:23 pm 
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Trans students to get free education at Indian university
By P. Sudhakar
5 April 2017

With the objective of transforming the lives of the transgenders, the Manonmaniam Sundaranar University (MSU) in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu has decided to fully waive the fees for those from the community joining courses offered by 27 departments in the university and its 10 constituent colleges from this academic year onwards.

When MSU vice-chancellor K. Baskar moved this path-breaking resolution in the 167th Syndicate Committee meeting held on March 31, the members overwhelmingly supported the move. The university officials claimed that it was perhaps the first university in the country to offer such an attractive incentive to encourage the transgenders to go in for higher education, even up to doctorate.

In fact, the syndicate members made a fervent appeal to the managements of affiliated colleges – both aided and unaided institutions – to extend fee waiver to the transgender community. “After getting neglected by the society and even by their parents, the transgenders are forced to beg on the streets. If we can create a favourable condition for acquiring better educational qualifications, it will enable them to occupy enviable positions in government or private institutions, and hence, the MSU has taken an initiative in this direction,” Dr. Baskar said on Tuesday.

The constituent college principals and the heads of aided and unaided colleges affiliated to MSU had been instructed to create facilities including separate toilets for transgenders joining any of the courses, he said. “A transgender from Salem has become the first Sub-Inspector of Police in Tamil Nadu to prove that providing right opportunity is important for them to come up in life. We, by giving the fee waiver, have announced in an unequivocal manner that MSU is for the upliftment of the third gender. We should ensure a respectable life for them,” the Vice-Chancellor said.

One of the syndicate members and chairman of SCAD Group of Institutions, S. Cletus Babu, has announced that he would bear the living expenses of two deserving transgender students getting admission in any of the postgraduate programmes of MSU or in the graduation courses in constituent colleges.

Source: The Hindu

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:25 pm 
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First LGBTQ support centre in India opens in Delhi
By Bindu Shajan Perappadan
6 April 2017

Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community in the Indian capital will soon have a dedicated centre providing crisis management and counselling services, the first of its kind in the country. One of India's oldest LGBT organisations, the Humsafar Trust, will inaugurate its new centre in Delhi on April 7.

“The Humsafar Trust will bring our best services in counselling, crisis management and community mobilisation to the LGBT groups in Delhi-NCR and other nearby areas. We also hope to network directly with the Parliament and the Union government on important legislation regarding sexual minorities and their problems,” said Ashok Row Kavi, a journalist and an activist.

Humsafar was set up in Mumbai in 1994 and is one of the leading organisations covering the spectrum of sexual minorities in India. Humsafar's Delhi office is supported by project CONNECT, which focuses on building the capacities of LGBT organisations working in various parts of the country.

Ashok Row Kavi, the founder and chairperson of Humsafar Trust, said it was a long-held dream to bring the organisation to Delhi.
Humsafar’s Delhi office will host informative sessions every Friday on legal awareness, mental health, social entitlements among other issues. It will also offer counselling services by community counsellors. For any advance counselling support like mental health, it will have referrals to experts.

“LGBTQ persons in India generally live under double or triple stigma because of their sexuality, and tend to hide themselves due to societal and other pressures. This leads to many mental health issues concerning the community. Humsafar's LGBTQ centre in Delhi hopes to provide not only a safer place for the community members, but also counselling and links with mental health professionals,” said Vivek Anand, CEO of Humsafar Trust.

The Humsafar Trust has been involved in community initiatives in neighbouring regions -- it supported the Chandigarh Queer Pride in March this year and is also supporting the Awadh Pride march that is scheduled to be held on April 9.

Humsafar Delhi will also act as secretariat to INFOSEM - integrated network for sexual minorities - that has representation of more than 150 members, largely Community Based Organisations (CBOs) from all over India. Humsafar is also working on establishing India's first-ever National LGBTQ Resource centre under project CONNECT. “The idea is to support new initiatives of community and LGBTQ youth,” said Yashwinder Singh, program manager, CONNECT.

Source: The Hindu

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PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2017 11:38 am 
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Indian woman cuts off genitals of her alleged rapist
20 May 2017

NEW DELHI (AP) -- A 24-year-old woman in southern India cut off the genitals of a Hindu holy man who tried to rape her and who she alleged has been sexually assaulting her for the past eight years, police said Saturday.

G. Sparjan Kumar, a police officer in Thiruvananthapuram, the Kerala state capital, said the woman fled her home after the incident Friday night and called police. The alleged attacker, 54-year-old Gangeshananda Theerthapada, who claims to be a spiritual healer, was reported to be in stable condition after reconstructive surgery.

Pinarayi Vijayan, the state's chief minister, told reporters on Saturday that it was brave of the woman to take such action. "It's a courageous and strong act by the woman," he said.

The New Delhi Television news channel said the woman's family knew Theerthapada, who used to visit their home to cure her bed-ridden father. She told police that he would rape her whenever he got an opportunity. When he again visited her home on Friday night and tried to force himself on her, she got hold of a knife and attacked him, Kumar said.

Violent crimes against women have been on the rise in India despite tough laws enacted by the government.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:37 pm 
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Hundreds join pride march in India, where gay sex is illegal
12 November 2017

NEW DELHI (AP) -- Hundreds of gay rights activists and supporters, many wearing colorful costumes and holding balloons, have marched through India's capital in celebration but also defiance in a nation that continues to outlaw homosexuality.

As people chanted and marched to the beat of drums during New Delhi's 10th annual Queer Pride march on Sunday, many said they were frustrated with the law but also hoped it would soon change.

Tish Anand wore a wig that he says was inspired by the Disney Channel character Hannah Montana. He said he couldn't understand why authorities had "criminalized love." Manak Matiyani, one of the organizers, said they were fighting for the rights of every Indian to live the way they choose. Indian law makes gay sex punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Source: AP

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