Centre should spell out stand on Section 377, says Akkai

The Centre should spell out its stand on Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code before the Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court that is hearing the legality of the section, said activist Akkai Padmashali here on Friday.

Speaking at a function to release a report of Ondede-Swatantra on ‘Domestic and sexual violence; claiming voice, rights and dignity’ here, Ms. Padmashali said the Centre’s stand before the Constitution Bench that it would not take any sides regarding Section 377 was nothing but “direct escapism” from the issue.

Ms. Padmashali, who is among the two petitioners before the the Supreme Court, said the government cannot escape from taking a stand on Section 377. “You are having multiple responsibility, especially to the most vulnerable and oppressed section (in society).”

Questioning the Centre’s stand, Ms. Padmashali said: “Why is the Narendra Modi government so silent on the issue of sexuality and gender? You say about Transgender Persons (protection of rights) Bill … but you are not talking about the right to privacy and my dignity is totally undermined.”

Thanking the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice of India for taking up the issue of transgenders, Ms. Padmashali said the government was bound to listen to transgenders, who were victims of sexual harassment. The community members was facing social ostracism and were victims of domestic violence too. Releasing the report, Deputy Commissioner Sasikanth Senthil S. said he would open a cell to address grievances of transgenders. Principal of St. Aloysius College Praveen Martis, transgender activist Sapna and women rights activist Vidya Dinker also spoke.

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