Other States

Goa minister backtracks LGBT remarks

After his remarks on giving treatment for LGBT community to make them “normal” triggered a row, Goa minister Ramesh Tawadkar today backtracked, claiming he was misquoted even as Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar did some damage control to say homosexuality is not a “disease.”

“I was misunderstood and misquoted. I was not talking about the LGBT (youths) but about drug addicted and sexually abused youths,” Mr. Tawadkar told PTI, as local channels in Goa continued to air the footage in which he assured medical treatment to LGBT youths to make them “normal“.

“Youth policy speaks about drug addicted youths and sexually abused youths as a focused group. There are provisions in the central government sponsored Social Justice Scheme for such youths which can be implemented in Goa,” the Sports and Youth Affairs minister said, a day after he was widely criticised for his statements.

He said when journalists asked him about LGBTs (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders), he told them, “I am not expert on the issue.”

The minister also refused to acknowledge LGBT as a focused group, though the youth policy document which is currently in public domain has mentioned them as one.

In a damage control exercise, Mr. Parsekar said, “Homosexuality is a natural thing, it is not a disease...It could be ignorance. Probably, he might have thought of some other question and reacted.”

Asked what was the state government’s stand on homosexuality, he said, “it is a natural thing.”

The row broke out even as visiting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon strongly opposed the criminalisation of homosexuality in India, saying that doing so breeds intolerance by violating basic rights to privacy and freedom.

Reacting to Mr. Tawadkar’s remarks, noted fashion designer Wendell Rodricks said the minister was trying to divert attention from the main issues by talking such things.

“There are lot of other issues which need urgent attention in Goa. They should concentrate on real issues like corruption, illegal constructions, drug mafia, lawlessness and others,” said Mr. Wendell.

The Congress party too strongly reacted to the minister’s statement.

“How can minister make such regressive statement? LGBTs are normal people just like us and we cannot treat them (like this). This is a shameless statement,” Congress Goa spokesman Agnelo Fernandes said.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2020 4:23:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/goa-minister-backtracks-lgbt-remarks/article6785094.ece

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