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On 2 February 2020, an FIR with charges of sedition was lodged against 51 individuals for raising slogans at Azad Maidan during Mumbai Pride 2020. These charges are baseless and deserve to be condemned.

This FIR is an act of political vendetta by right-wing politicians who have tried to hijack Pride to suit their agenda in the run-up to the Delhi elections. The systematic targeting of a young trans student, Kris Chudawala (referred to by their deadname in the FIR), is malicious and unnecessary.

By distorting the intent of one slogan taken out of context, politicians are using the same strategy they tried to use at JNU, at the Gateway protests, and at Shaheen Bagh. By picking on one person, they have shown that this FIR is part of a continuous attack on student voices across the country. We cannot fall for their propaganda.

The Supreme Court of India has laid down strict guidelines about the definition of sedition. This FIR clearly violates those guidelines. As allies and members of a community that fought against a colonial law, Section 377, we cannot support the persecution of LGBTQIA+ individuals under sedition – another colonial law.

Pride has always been about protest and celebration. We will continue to stand up against the persecution of oppressed groups everywhere – because, as queer people, we know what oppression looks and feels like. And because, as Audre Lorde said, “There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.”

As citizens of India, we demand that this FIR against Kris Chudawala and others be dropped immediately. Further, as queer individuals and allies, we ask that their deadname or photo not be used and that their right to privacy remain respected and protected.

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Featured Image Source: Firstpost

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