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The Political Struggle For LGBT Rights In India

India has a relatively stable democracy. Elections in the last two decades have brought one of two political coalitions to power. These two groups are namely the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), headed by the right wing nationalist party the BJP, and the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), led by the left-of-center nominally secular Indian National Congress (INC).

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9th November 2013 03:04

Alessia Valenza | ILGA Asia

The key difference between the two groups is that the BJP endorses a fundamentalist politics with a clear Hindu majoritarian bias. They have a dubious human rights record. They were responsible in 1991 for the destruction of a 14th century mosque in central India in collusion of the state government, which was controlled by the party at the time. This led to communal riots and violence across the country with thousands of lives being lost. Again in 2002, when the party controlled both the center and the state government in Gujarat sate, they organised a pogrom and systematic genocide against the Muslim community of the state with more than 3000 lives being lost and millions of rupees worth of property belonging to Muslims being destroyed.

However, in all fairness it needs to be mentioned that the record of the UPA in matters of communal relations between communities is not rosy either. After the assassination of the then Congress Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh Bodyguards in 1984, Congress leaders led a pogrom against the Sikh community in Delhi, where more than 2000 sikhs were brutally killed, many by placing petrol soaked tyres around them and putting these on fire. Many Congress governments since then have stalled any proper investigation into these riots, and with the passage of time, and the disappearance, death, or intimidation of witnesses, any scope of the perpetrators being brought to justice has receded to a near possibility. In fact more Hindu-Muslim riots have taken place under Congress dispensations than under BJP. The only thing that can be said in favour is that at least overtly the Congress pays lip service to secularism and communal amity.

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