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Religious leaders criticise Delhi High Court order

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Religious leaders (from left) Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari, president, Jammat-e-Islami Hind, Acharya Lokesh Muni, and Dominic Emmanuel, Director, Delhi Catholic Archdiocese, outlining their stand on Section 377 in New Delhi on Thursday.
Religious leaders (from left) Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari, president, Jammat-e-Islami Hind, Acharya Lokesh Muni, and Dominic Emmanuel, Director, Delhi Catholic Archdiocese, outlining their stand on Section 377 in New Delhi on Thursday.

Aarti Dhar

The judgment has forced attempts to promote unnatural sex, they say

They see “a calculated effort” to impose the western value system

NEW DELHI: Leaders of various religious groups on Thursday described as “shocking, deplorable and unfortunate” the recent Delhi High Court judgment that decriminalised homosexuality.

At a joint press conference, they said that in the wake of the judgment there were attempts by various quarters to encourage and popularise “unnatural” sexual behaviour and “perversion.” “Such unhealthy attempts are totally unacceptable in a country which has rich cultural and ethical traditions,” they said.

“It is an undeniable fact that unnatural sex undermines the family system, corrupts the social atmosphere, leads to moral degradation and is injurious to health. The attempt to popularise unnatural inclination in the name of democratic rights is totally misguided,” said a statement signed by Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari, president of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind; Shankaracharya Onkaranand; Father Dominic Emmanuel, spokesperson and Director Delhi Catholic Archdiocese; Acharya Lokesh Muni of Ahimsa Vishwa Bharati and Daljeet Singh of the Dharma Pracharak Committee of the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee.

“It must be realised that the domain of individual rights cannot be extended to include unnatural tendencies and perversions. The individual rights, as is well-known, are not absolute but are subject to public order, morality and health. The social fabric cannot be permitted to be disrupted in the name of individual freedom,” they said.

“Provide counselling”

Demanding that the government intervene in the matter and declare in clear terms that unnatural sex was “unacceptable” and “illegal,” the religious leaders said individuals prone to “perverted behaviours” needed counselling and treatment. They should not be harassed or victimised. Rather they should be given all possible help to overcome the unnatural tendencies. At the same time, such behaviour should not be legitimised.

Announcing their decision to launch an all-India campaign against such tendencies, the religious leaders called upon the people who “believe in ethical, cultural and religious values” to stand up against a calculated effort by some groups to impose upon India the “corrupt” western value system to spoil the family system and social fabric of the country.

While there was unanimity among the religious leaders over the fact that homosexuality should not be legalised, Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari differed with others, saying such behaviour was a “sin” and punishable under Islam. The other leaders said that they did not treat people with such behaviour as “outcastes” but as part of society and were always willing to help them get into the mainstream through counselling. “We cannot go against the laws of nature,” Father Emmanuel said.

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  • In pics: Gay rights in India
  • Editorial: Don't dither on Section 377

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