In a shocking incident, a 22-year-old Kerala woman in a same-sex relationship was picked up by police officers from her partner’s house and forcibly taken away.
The incident occurred in Chennai on Saturday night when two police officers from Kerala including one woman cop arrived and one Chennai cop tracked down the 22-year-old. A Kozhikode resident, the woman had run away from her parents’ home in Kerala after they refused to accept her relationship with a woman.
The 22-year-old decided to flee her home to Chennai where she had been living with her partner and the latter’s mother for 20 days when the cops arrived, The News Minute reported. The woman’s parents had reported her missing earlier in October and the Kerala cops traveled for miles to take her and produce her in a Kerala court.
The incident is disturbing as the 22-year-old is an adult who came to Chennai to live with a person with her own consent. Even if she had to be produced in court, the police officers need not have taken the woman away without her consent.
According to the TNM report, the cops did not allow the woman or her partner any time to arrange legal counsel before letting her go.
The woman appeared before a magistrate at a Kerala court on Sunday and said that she would be spending ten days in Kerala with her parents before returning to Chennai.
The incident is one among many such cases in which the rights and freedom of LGBTQIA youth are taken away by parents and relatives, often in collusion with cops.
In the case of the 22-year-old Kerala girl, for instance, the police could and indeed should have ascertained if the adult woman was living in Chennai with her consent and not against her will. Instead, they acted on the parents’ complaints and brought the woman home.
The pattern is worrying since many LGBTQIA youth face problems at home and may often need to seek outside help from doctors, mental health professionals, and even cops. This incident, in particular, highlights the larger issue faced by homosexual and queer women – the lack of acceptance in a patriarchal system. Coupled with the lack of agency and economic freedom, queer women in India are often pushed to take extreme steps such as running away or even taking their own lives.
In 2018, Kerala High Court ruled in favour of a woman who had been “taken away” from her girlfriend’s house by the police upon the complaints of her family. Despite the ruling, such incidents of abuse continue to occur.