Rasika Gopalakrishnan with her friend Shivangi Singh (Photo Source: Facebook)
Even months after the Supreme Court's pathbreaking verdict abolishing the Section 377 of the IPC, India, it seems, is not a safe place for homosexuals. In yet another hate crime against lesbians, two women, in their early twenties, on July 28, were allegedly thrown out of a hotel in Chennai. There were allegations that the behaviour of the young couple led to the discomfort of other guests present in the hotel.
The incident comes to light after one of the girls named Rasika Gopalakrishnan took to social media to narrate the ordeal she and her friend Shivangi Singh faced last month. In a hard-hitting Facebook post, Gopalakrishnan said, "My friend and I decided to go to a bar called The Slate Hotels on a Saturday night. While dancing, there were 4 to 5 men who were standing at the bar and were constantly staring at us, making us very uncomfortable".
"As far as we knew, almost everyone else was enjoying themselves as much as we did, yet why did we draw such unwarranted attention? Why was it so hard to digest that two people of the same sex were dancing together? I was appalled at the way in which we were immediately fetishized by the people around us (sic.)," she added.
According to Gopalakrishnan, she went into the washroom along with her friend Shivangi and was soon after dragged out by 5 bouncers with charges of 'doing something else'. "We hear frantic knocks on our door, ordering us to step out of the washroom. 4 male bouncers and 1 female bouncer were inside the washroom, demanding to know what we were doing in the washroom together. They accused us of 'doing something else', they warned us about 'several complaints' they had received from the guests, and they insisted that we leave immediately. So we left," she wrote.
The young lass, however, has argued that they were very much with their own business and neither did abuse any guest nor picked up a fight at the hotel premises. She wondered how the hotel could throw them out without even explaining the exact reason for such a indecent behaviour. "Such offensive and unprofessional behaviour from the staff is UNACCEPTABLE. How dare they have the audacity to assume that we'd be 'upto something'?," the post by Gopalakrishnan read.
Singh, who also took to her Facebook account to describe the incident, said the hotel manager insisted that they had made "the people there uncomfortable by making out on the state". "He lied about the footage - it never existed - so that we could be scared into submission, into redacting our own complaints. This is outright manipulation of customers (sic.)," Singh said.
"The manager insisted that they have to keep the place comfortable for everybody in the club, and families etc. were feeling uncomfortable by the mere presence of Rasika and I," she went on to claim further.
"But Rasika clearly remembers straight couples being intimate on the dance floor, and while that is completely OK with us, these couples were NOT thrown out of the club for making other people uncomfortable. WE were thrown out because we were making the straight people in the club uncomfortable (sic.)," Singh had posted.
Meanwhile, media has made several attempts to reach out to the hotel and the women, but all their efforts have gone in vain. Speaking to the news agency IANS, Yangya Prakash Chandran, Founder and CEO, Crossway Hotels and Resorts said, "In bars, hotel staff and bouncers keep a watch on the customers whose behaviour is normally out of ordinary. The hotel will take some action against such guests if other guests find such an action offensive".
A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court in September last year had unanimously decriminalised part of the 158-year-old colonial law under Section 377 of the IPC which criminalises consensual unnatural sex. The top court, however, said other aspects of Section 377 dealing with unnatural sex with animals and children shall remain in force.