Maoists 'jail' women for lesbianism
Apr 9, 2007 - 1:29:08 PM

Kathmandu, April 9 - Two young women were 'jailed' by Maoist guerrillas in southern Nepal for being lesbians, Nepal's sole gay rights group has said.

Dukhani Choudhary, 16, and Sarita Choudhury, 20, were 'arrested' in Pakali village in Sunsari district March 2 after the Maoists, who do not condone same sex relationships, came to know the two were lesbians, the Blue Diamond Society, a Kathmandu-based organization for sexual minorities, told IANS.

The two were going to the office of an NGO working in the HIV/AIDS sector in Itahari to take part in Holi when they were detained by the Maoists and forced to go to the rebel camp in Singiya village for questioning.

The girls, who are virtually illiterate and work as labourers, were asked about their relationship.

A Maoist cadre at their initial six-hour interrogation reportedly told them they would have to 'undergo a blood test to check if they were lesbians'.

Sunil Pant, president of BDS, said he was disturbed by the fact that when they informed the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Biratnagar, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala's hometown, the office's main concern was that Dukhani was a minor.

Soon after the incident, the two girls simply vanished.

However, Monday morning, they landed up at the BDS office here where they told Pant they had been detained in the Maoist camp for a month.

Pant said the girls complained they were thrashed and forced to lead a 'straight life' by becoming Maoist cadres.

They were reportedly made to carry weapons and take part in Maoist activities against their will. However, they managed to give their captors the slip.

Last month, alarmed by an anti-gay drive by Maoists, BDS organised an interaction programme attended by influential Maoist women's leader Hisila Yami, who was named the physical planning and infrastructure minister April 1.

Yami reportedly said' 'We don't punish homosexuals but we also don't encourage homosexual behaviour.'

However, Pant says contrary to the avowed party policy, the Maoist cadres were widely abusing and violating the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders.

BDS has called a two-day convention here Wednesday to discuss the new constitution and the rights it gives to Nepal's sexual minorities.

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