On Monday, Bombay HC allowed young Bidhan Barua to undergo sex reassignment surgery, stating that there is no law that prevents an individual from doing so. Barua had to seek protection after his family threated not only him, but also the doctors who were supposed to perform the surgery on April 17th. As a result, the doctors requested Barua to acquire permission from the HC, without which they would not perform the surgery. Almost immediately, Barua seeked protection from the Colaba police station, only to be turned down by them.
Barua took matters into his own hands and climbed up the ladder of officials by writing letters to the Chief Justice of India, Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court and National Human Rights Commission asking for them to intervene. Finally this week, Barua got his answer! The court has asked him to make a fresh appeal for protection to the Colaba Police Station.
While I am highly impressed with the HC’s speed, efficiency and am extremely proud of their decision, I am not at all shocked at the response of the police. And I will say it again; Barua was naïve to think that the police would assist him. The last time I called someone naïve, people did not respond too well, but let me explain.
We live in a society where being an LGBTQ community automatically makes you a second-class citizen (and until recently a criminal as per section 377). So why should we be shocked when we are treated as such by the police. I do not expect a pan spitting, pot bellied, lazy police officer to be helpful in anyway or form. We have all had to deal with the police, no matter where we live, and we all know that they are, more often than not, unhelpful mustached men who are enjoying their power trip. 90% of them only work when offered chai-pani. No bribe, no work. And this is the truth of the situation. So when someone like Barua, or the 2 girls from Madhya Pradesh (see “Self Defense 101”) seek protection, they are not going to be welcomed with open arms. They use the little money they have to run away from home and create a life for themselves, not as bribe for the police. Hence they are naïve to think that for once the police will do their jobs.
One thing is for sure… Barua was genuinely threatened and so were his doctors. If this wasn’t enough for the police to provide him protection then I don’t know what is. I am thrilled that the Bombay HC has stood by this young man. While I still have my contentions against the Justice System, I am proud for their stance on the matter.
Let’s hope the police will now take steps to protect Barua.