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Challenge file Dossier : Human Rights in India

West Bangal, July 2007

Two youths commit suicide realizing it is not possible to continue their ‘relationship’

The file is a report appeared in a daily narrating a major challenge in contemporary India with regard to sexual minorities. It raises serious questions about our moralistic attitudes and insensitive administrative actions. {[A Translation of the Report in Anandabazar Patrika, Friday, July 28, 2007] Translation By Anindya Hajra}

The police have stumbled upon the dead bodies of two youths in embrace from Dihibagnan in the Arambagh area of Hooghly district in West Bengal. Initial enquiries by the police reveal the two were ‘homosexual’. There was mounting pressure on the duo after their relationship came to be known by the villagers. They - Jayanta Ghosh (26) and Swapan Manna (26) committed suicide realising that its not possible to continue their ‘relationship’, the police said.

Villagers informed that the two were seen to be in an intimate relationship despite being married and that there were tensions in their respective families regarding this relationship. Shalishi, a community dispute resolution method, had also been convened several times in order to ease the tensions, but this could not deter the two from meeting frequently. The duos bodies, in embrace, were discovered on Friday morning, at the memorial site of freedom fighter from Dihibagnan, Satish Ray. A bottle of poison was found next to them.

Swapan Manna owned a Saloon while Jayanta Ghosh was a farmer by profession. There was constant tension in their respective families with regard to their ‘relationship’. The neighbourhood of the duo involved the local CPM leadership when repeated intervention couldn’t deter them from meeting.

The Karmadhakshya of the local Panchayat and CPM leader Uttam Samanta said, “We tried to resolve the issue from the party level, however they did not respond”. Another resident from the same area Ratan Manna and Shyamal Ghosh informed “Everybody used to ridicule their relationship. For the past few months their intimacy had crossed all limits” They were also threatened to be beaten up by many of the villagers as well. Their suicide came as a result of the realisation that it shall not be possible for them to continue their relationship.