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Gays, lesbians to stage protest on India’s Republic day Demand equal rights, reversal of recent ban on gay sex

NEW DELHI, Jan 25, (AFP): Hundreds of gay and lesbian Indians will take to the streets of New Delhi on Sunday, demanding equal rights and a reversal of the recent ban on gay sex as the country celebrates its Republic Day. Members of various rights groups and civil society activists will also join the protest march that will kick off in the heart of the city’s business district after the Republic Day celebrations wind up. “We want to ask the government if we are included in India’s current idea of a republic,”

Mohnish Malhotra, one of the organisers of the parade, told AFP. “The government has failed in its constitutional duty to protect and advance gay rights,” he added. Gay sex had been effectively legalised in 2009 when the Delhi High Court ruled that a section of the penal code prohibiting “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” was an infringement of fundamental rights. But last month, India’s apex court ruled that the High Court had overstepped its authority and that a law passed in the 1860s during British colonial rule was still valid. Criminal prosecutions were rare when the law was previously in force, but police used it to harass people and demand bribes.

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