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India's Lesbians Organize

Afghan Execution Attempt Fails

By Rex Wockner
International News Report

India's Lesbians Organize

Indian lesbians have formed an organization to respond to the ransacking of theaters showing the lesbian-themed film Fire.

Members of the right-wing Shiv Sena party pillaged more than a dozen cinemas across the nation, intimidating managers into suspending screenings of the film.
fire2.jpg - 43.68 K Lesbianism in India is examined in the film Fire.
They smashed windows and snack counters and destroyed posters. The party's leader, Balasaheb Thackeray, told The New York Times: "[The film] can corrupt tender minds. It is a sort of a social AIDS."

In announcing the formation of the Campaign for Lesbian Rights, organizers said: "The attacks on the film, the responses to the film and to the protests have pushed women's groups, human-rights groups and secular organizations to address the lesbophobia which prevails within large sections of Indian society. ... In the case of lesbians, their isolation and invisibility has meant the absence of collective identity. In the public domain there is no space for discussion of sexuality, leave alone women's sexuality. Culture, tradition, values and morals have consistently been used as tools of oppression and discrimination.

"The Campaign seeks to make lesbianism visible and dispel the myth that there are no lesbians in India; to create awareness about lesbian issues and concerns; and to develop public and state recognition of the rights of all lesbians to a life of dignity, acceptance, equality and safety."

The group will disseminate information, engage in public debate, and stage protest actions, organizers said. For more information, e-mail

Related Stories from the GayToday Archive:
India: Zealots Close Down Lesbian Movie

Asia: Japan Passes First Gay-Rights Law

Related Sites:
Fire: Official Site
GayToday does not endorse related sites.

Afghan Execution Attempt Fails

afghaflag.gif - 20.83 K Taliban leaders in Kabul, Afghanistan, attempted but failed to execute a 60-year-old man January 16 for sodomizing a 12-year-old boy.

Thousands of people watched as a tank pushed a 15-foot-tall brick wall down onto Shuma Khan as required by the Taliban version of Islamic law.

But when Khan was pulled from the rubble after 30 minutes, he was still alive and, in accord with Taliban law, his sentence was then reversed.

Speaking from his hospital room, Khan told reporters: "I was wrongfully convicted for sodomy. And God has proven my innocence. My whole body aches with pain, but thank God I have returned from the jaws of death."

The Taliban have executed several homosexuals since coming to power across much of Afghanistan. Khan is at least the third to survive the alloted 30 minutes under a collapsed wall.

Also on January 16, six thieves had their right hands and left feet amputated at a stadium. A seventh man, a repeat offender who previously had his right hand cut off, had his left foot removed. Prior to the surgery, he was forced to walk around the stadium displaying the limb that had been chopped off earlier.

Editor's Addition: Condemning the Taliban

Resolution introduced January 25 San Francisco Board of Supervisors By [gay] Board President Tom Ammiano:

Whereas, The Taliban, the current ruling faction of the government of Afghanistan, is not recognized by the majority of nations except for four countries; and

Whereas, Under the Taliban's interpretation of Islamic Law, homosexuality is deemed a capital offense and is punishable by toppling a brick wall up to 15 feet over those convicted of sodomy and if the convicted survives, the sentence is commuted; and

Whereas, On February 25, 1998, three Afghan men, Fazalur Rehamn, Ahmand Shah andAbdul Qahir , were convicted of sodomy and had a stone wall toppled over them by a battle tank; and

Whereas, On March 22, 1998, Abdul Sami and Bismillah were similarly convicted and suffered the same ordeal; and

Whereas, on January 15, 1999, Shuma Khan, also convicted of sodomy and punished, survived the ordeal; and

Whereas, On all three occasions, the punishment was meted out in public, sometimes in public stadiums, in order to terrorize its citizens; and

Whereas, The Taliban has imposed an oppressive system of gender discrimination against women, banning girls from going to school, banning women from attending university, prohibiting women from holding jobs, requiring women to be accompanied at all times in public by a male member of their immediate families,requiring women to be covered from head to toe and requiring windows of homes with women to be darkened ; and

Whereas, These attacks against gays and women are latest in a series of repressive measures which are justified through religious rhetoric and aimed at circumscribing the rights of its citizens; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco condemns the Taliban, the ruling faction of the government of Afghanistan, for its inhumane treatment of gays;.and let it be

Further Resolved, That the Board of Supervisors condemn inhumane and antiquated sodomy laws as a violation of human rights of gay people; and let it be

Further Resolved, That the Board of Supervisors condemn the gender discrimination of women as violation of human rights and as an affront to civil society and government.

Supervisors Ammiano, Katz, Leno

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