TEST OF PRIDE – QAM 2012 Fundraiser meets homophobia

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Queer Azaadi Mumbai, a collective of LGBT organizations and individuals in Mumbai had organized a fund raiser event which was collecting funds for organizing the QAM Pride walk in Mumbai to be held in Mumbai on 28th January 2012.

The fund raiser event was attended by self identified LGBT individuals and their supporters. The event started around 9:30 pm at a friendly lounge in Oshiwara, Mumbai and was on full swing until the police interrupted the party at 11:45 pm. The police had received a complaint from Mr. Ahmed Sahab Bawa who claimed that he is a prominent member of NCP and the event party was illegal as the necessary permissions were not taken. His vehicle showed sticker of NCP and the name plate mentioned him being the All India President of The All India International Human Rights organization.

The police first began speaking to the venue staff asking for the permission papers, while they were showing the permission slips Mr.Ahmed tried creating a panic by speaking on the phone stating ‘Media ko bulao’. He kept pointing fingers and stated that homosexuality is illegal and the party must be stopped immediately. Mr Ahmed had earlier walked into the party as a regular guest and had taken pictures and videos of the people without their permission in the party and threatened that this will be shared to the media. By this time the party had come to a standstill and the venue organizers announced that the party had to be stopped. Mr. Ahmed threatened that a case will be filed under sec 377 and his political party (NCP) has acquired a stay order against the Delhi high court judgment reading down sec 377. This of course was false information and the organizer brought that to his notice.   Mr. Vivek Anand (CEO, the Humsafar Trust) and Mr. Pallav Patankar (Director, HIV Programs – The Humsafar Trust) who were present at the party tried talking to Mr. Ahmed and the police to resolve the issue. Mr. Ahmed ignored all attempts to clarify the correct legal stand on Section 377 and about permissions for the party. On being addressed about his intention/motive behind the police complaint, he rushed to his car. On seeing that he was escaping the scene after disrupting a legitimate party around 40 party guests blocked his car from leaving the scene.

Police asked the crowd to move to Oshiwara Police station where both the sides would be heard.  Upon reaching, the party organizers and Mr. Vivek, Pallav, Sibi and Praful were made to wait for 1 hour, while Mr. Ahmed was in the station giving his statement. Mr.Ahmed was escorted by the police safely to his car and after which some members from the event party were allowed to give their statements to the police officers. The police assured that all the required permissions were in place and had acted only to verify the matter. The organizers and other members demanded that they wanted to have a face to face with Mr. Ahmed the police assured that he will be called to the station the next day and there can be face to face discussion with him. The media had arrived at the police station where some members of the LGBT community shared their experiences. The queer community is outraged that a fundamentalist like Mr. Ahmed can be allowed to disrupt a perfectly legal event with such ease. The queer community will not take this lying down and is prepared to take necessary legal actions against Mr. Ahmed who claims to be in charge of a Human Rights Organization in Panvel. He is also employed as his facebook profile claims by Islamic Human rights Commission UK. This incident had once again highlighted the importance of the Pride march and we will appeal to the entire LGBT community to come out in large numbers and make Pride Walk 2012 a big success. It’s all about us being ourselves and our right to exist as legal and responsible citizens of the largest democracy in the world.

For More Information Contact

Pallav Patankar : 9619012251

Sibi Mathen : 9867397744

Praful Baweja : 9870213831

Srini: 9833717720

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