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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 23, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 38
Mumbai police raid Gay party, arrest 133
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Mumbai police raid Gay party, arrest 133

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Police in Versova, India, near Mumbai, raided a Gay party on September 19, arresting 133 people on charges of 'indecent behavior.'

Police also arrested the two party organizers for not having liquor permits, and the DJ was arrested for not having a business license.

Among those arrested on the indecent behavior charge was Transgender Bollywood star Bobby Darling.

'I just went to the party as a celebrity guest on a professional level and charged for it. I was not aware it was a Gay party. I did not see any form of indecent behavior,' Darling told the Hindustan Times newspaper.

'I doubt the police would have taken such action had it not been a Gay party,' she added.

The police said they conducted the raid after they received a phone call around 1 a.m., complaining about loud music being played at a local resort bungalow.

A police team then raided the bungalow, which is often used for film shootings, and took the partygoers, organizers, and DJ to a nearby police station.

'The team found that those at the party were behaving in an indecent manner as defined under the Bombay Police Act so they were detained and asked to pay a fine of 1,200 rupees [$24.97] each,' said deputy Police Commissioner Pratap Dighavkar.

Darling was questioned by police and released.

Asked if she had paid the fine, she replied, 'Someone paid the fine on my behalf. I went to the police station where my statement was recorded and then I left.'

The high-profile raid was controversial in the celebrity community that frequents Versova, a beach resort suburb of Mumbai.

Filmmaker Onir said the incident was an embarrassment.

'It's a joke that Gay people dancing are called immodest, while heterosexual couples at parties is fine,' he told Hindustan Times reporters. 'The cops have every right to stop a party if it exceeds the noise level, but to harass people because of their sexuality is a shame.'

Model-turned-actor Dipannita Sharma agreed, saying, 'It makes sense if there is drug abuse or some illegal activities. But I don't understand why the police targeted a party just because the revelers are Gay.'

Gay activist and DJ Ma Faiza, who just returned from Berlin, said she was shocked.

'Even though Germany and India are at the same economic level, I feel like I've come back to the 1930s when I hear about such news in India.'

Same-sex relations were illegal in India until 2009, when the Indian Supreme Court struck down Section 377 of the country's penal code, outlawing 'carnal intercourse against the order of nature.'

According to Human Rights Watch, India's LGBT community is still targeted by police harassment.

The Versova raid is not the first instance of what The Times of India calls 'moral policing.'

In July, the Malad police raided a lounge and booked and fined at least 31 teens dancing there for what they called 'indecent behavior.'

The outraged teens stuck back at police with a 'Stop Moral Policing' page on Facebook.

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