FROM ISSUE #209 (13 AUG 2004 - 19 AUG 2004) | TABLE OF CONTENTS
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As part of a police campaign to purge the Valley of the commercial sex trade, on 9 August the police arrested 39 members of Blue Diamond Society (BDS)?an organisation that advocates the rights of sexual minorities. Members complained that they were not given food and beaten up while in police custody. Many sex workers and clients were also arrested the same day from massage parlours. There is no clear law against prostitution and the only penalty, as per the civil act, is that the accused will have to pay between Rs 5,000-10,000 and serve three months imprisonment as penalty. The BDS members were not caught engaged in any form of sex work, but were still arrested by police. The police discrimination against the sexual minorities is evident and we strongly condemn the police violation of their human rights, says Sunil Pant, director of BDS. In a bid to get public support and to pressure the government against the discriminatory attitude, BDS organised a peaceful rally in Ratna Park on Tuesday. Amnesty International sent out a circular to member organisations this week to urge the government and police to stop the harassment of trans-sexuals.