Despite HC verdict, gay activists say nothing has changed

"It was one of the momentous judgements in the last 60 years. But still on the ground nothing has changed. Police still target the community. They are often beaten up and harassed," Ashok Row Kavi of Humsafar Trust said.

He was speaking at a panel discussion on "Gay Rights as Civil Rights:Perspectives from the US and India."

He, however, admitted that a lot of issues have opened up following the Delhi High Court judgement.

Director of Naz foundation Anjali Gopalan said the favourable court ruling had come after an  eight-year battle but the plight of lesbians in India continues to be the "worst".

"Lesbians are absolutely at the bottom of the ladder," she said.

The Delhi High Court in July last year had legalised homosexual acts among consenting adults holding that the 149-year-old law making it a criminal offence was violative of fundamental rights.

Speaking on the occasion, US Deputy Chief of Mission Donald Lu said President Barack Obama considers gay rights as a fundamental human right and that the US administration is committed to improve the plight of the community.

"The President is personally involved in this movement to remove the stigma," he said extending support to gay rights community in India.

A video message of Obama on gay rights was also shown during the conference where the US President underlined the importance of ensuring rights of all sections of the society.

"As a nation we are founded on the belief that all of us are equal and each of us deserves the freedom to pursue our own version of happiness; to make the most of our talents; to speak our be true to ourselves. That is the freedom that enriches all of us. That is what America is all about," Obama said.

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