"We'll involve Baba Ramdev to counsel gays", Tawadkar tells NY Times

SUHASINI RAJ & NIDA NAJAR/NEW YORK TIMES, NEW DELHI | 14 January 2015 21:04 IST

The government of Goa, on India’s western coast, is setting up a program to get young gay people to lead “a normal life,” according to the state’s minister for sports and youth affairs.

“We will tell them what to do and how to get over same-sex feelings,” the minister, Ramesh Tawadkar, said on Tuesday in a telephone interview.

Mr. Tawadkar called homosexuality a “big problem” in Indian society, where same-sex relations are illegal.

Mr. Tawadkar revealed the plans on Monday in Panjim, the state capital, as he announced Goa’s state youth policy for 2015. The new policy treats gay youths as a problem group to be addressed with government action, along with drug addicts, dropouts, migrants and others.

Mr. Tawadkar confirmed in the interview Tuesday that the state government, run by the Bharatiya Janata Party, intended to set up “camps” to treat gay, bisexual and transgender young people.

He gave few specifics, but said that the program would include counseling.

“They are that part of our society who have not yet experienced the true pleasures and bliss of life,” Mr. Tawadkar said. “What does a normal life feel like? Do they know? No.”

The first step, he said, would be to identify such young people through a statewide survey. But it was not clear how candidly people might respond, given that gay sex has been a crime in India since colonial times; the Supreme Court upheld the law in 2013.

Mr. Tawadkar did not say whether any young people identified as gay would be prosecuted, but he did say, “We will definitely use law as a tool to teach them what is right and what is wrong.”

 

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations, on a visit to India on Monday, condemned the criminalization of homosexuality.

“I speak out because laws criminalizing consensual, adult same-sex relationships violate basic rights to privacy and to freedom from discrimination,” he said at a United Nations event on Monday in New Delhi.“Even if they are not enforced, these laws breed intolerance.”

Claims that homosexuality is a disease that can be “cured” or that people can be “reprogrammed” to change their sexual orientation have received no scientific support, and supposed methods for doing so, known as reparative therapy, have been widely discredited, especially in the West. Even so, taboos against homosexuality remain widespread in India, and conservative political and religious figures continue to call for government action against homosexuality.

A prominent yoga guru, Baba Ramdev, will apparently be involved in the Goa state program. Baba Ramdev spoke out in 2013 in support of the Supreme Court decision, saying that homosexuality was a “bad habit,” and he invited gay people to his yoga institute, where “they will be free from this habit most definitely.”

Mr. Tawadkar, the youth minister, said that Baba Ramdev’s “expertise” in yoga instruction would be used to counsel gay people and drug addicts.

According to Indian news reports, Mr. Ramdev will also be involved in a government program announced last year to expand the teaching of yoga in schools in Goa.

(The report is dated 13 January 2015)

Original Report

Drop a comment

Enter The Code Displayed hereRefresh Image


Previous Comments

@VAIDHAV , PORVORIM

The only research Mr Tawadkar, Sports Minister is able to conduct is "How to make Corrupt money ,fast".

with 2 years left of his term in office, I guess he must be working fast ,and hard on accumulating a lot of money.

I guess he will own more Flats or perhaps even a Bungalow in due course, bestowed on him by the builders lobby for turning a blind eye, on illegalities.

- N.Fernandes, London | 02 nd February 2015 13:24

 

I THINK YOU" TAWADKAR "SPEAKING BULLSHIT. THIS IS NOT A DIESEASE WHICH CAN BE CURE.U FIRST RESEARCH ON IT AND THEN TALK.IF I TELL U TO BE GIRL BEHAVE AS A GIRL FULL LIFETIME BEING UR A MAN, U WILL BE COMFORTABLE? DONT PLAY WITH THE EMOTION OF SOMEONE,BCOZ GOD MADE U NORMAL PERSON.MINISTER KE KURCHI PE BEITH GAYE TOH APNE APKO BADA MATH SAMJOH,JINOHNE KURCHI DHI HEY NA WOH LE BHI SAKTEH HAI.YE LGBT BAHUT PEHLE SE CHALE AA RAHA HAI. SO STOP DOING THIS KUCH ACCHA KARO

- VAIDHAV, PORVORIM | 30 th January 2015 14:51

 

Full time pracharak of RSS are often accused of sodomy by youngsters who attend shakhas, where girls are not allowed. Why not RSS employ Ramadev full time to cure their own cadres?

- Sumedh Marathe, Porvorim | 20 th January 2015 12:01

 

Mr. Ramesh Tawadkar does not deserve to continue as a Minister. He should be asked to resign.

- Francisco, Goa | 15 th January 2015 13:50

 

I say, what is the point of government economic policies to improve life in general , if the basic human right of every citizen is NOT respected?

The LGBT community is aghast at the way they are being "TREATED" in their home country India.

As a free citizen of the country I would have first wanted to live my life in the way I feel best without interference from any entity, its :MYYYYY LIFEEEEEEE". No state or central Government has a say in my bedroom in the same way that I do not go to your bedrooms to see what you do in the privacy of your space. And no, we do not need your treatment.

Mr. Minister Tawadkar, you are an elected representative and many from the LGBT community must have voted you to power. Do not think you are 'Hitler' who orchestrated the massacre of millions of gays. If you are not upto the job, give up your position to somebody who can do progressive justice to that chair you unceremoniously occupy.

- Mark Fernandes, Goa | 15 th January 2015 10:41

 

Latest News

Other Issues