Central Park a gay paradise!

A 19-year-old detained by Ghaziabad police after two youths went missing from the area claims homosexuals assemble at the 'green oasis' in Connaught Place to find new partners

After Delhi High Court decriminalised homosexuality in July 2009, Connaught Place (CP) was the site of celebrations and the Gay Pride Parades of 2009 and 2010. So, the revelations made by 19-year-old Azad, though startling, may not come as a complete surprise.

Ground zero: Ghaziabad police is now planning to conduct a raid at 
Central Park to locate one of the youths. The other has returned.
File pic

Detained by Ghaziabad police after two youths from the area went missing, Azad revealed that Central Park in CP is a venue of choice for gays who assemble there to find new partners. Most of them are members of an exclusive club. There's a registration fee for entry.

Greener pastures: Central Park

Azad who was detained by Ghaziabad police.

Speaking to MiD DAY, Sunil Kumar, Station Officer of Kotwali Indirapuram said that they received a complaint of two local youths Diwakar Gaur and Vijay Shukla going missing on September 14. A case was lodged and a police team was formed to look into the matter.

Family problems
"In the meantime, family members of the missing youths found their pictures in objectionable positions on a website. They reported the matter to the police. Following, this cops apprehended Azad who told the police that he knows Vijay Shukla and Diwakar Gaur. He said that both of them are members of the exclusive club and often come to the meetings at Central Park in Connaught Place.," said Sunil Kumar. The official added that Vijay Shukla was found during a police raid near CP. Shukla admitted to the police that he ran away along with Diwakar after his family came to know of his sexual orientations and thrashed him. Now the police are mulling to lodge an FIR against Azad of kidnapping. Azad told MiD DAY that he used to work for an NGO in Delhi where he had a boyfriend named Payal who introduced him to Diwakar.

Meeting point
"I go to CP each week to take part in the meeting. This is our choice to choose our partner. We don't charge for anything sex. This is not prostitution. This is between two guys who want to spend the night together," he said. Azad says he and his now boyfriend Taj are planning to get married.  "We have decided to get married after my 10th exams," he said. Azad said that they have two websites - and on which they keep uploading their latest photographs. He said that they have around 3000 members. All of them stay in touch with each other and share the latest updates. MiD DAY visited the site and discovered that the domain name was up for sale, while the other site doesn't exist. Azad also said that to get an entry in the meetings a person has to pay a fee.

Cost factor
"We charge Rs 800 for the entry and Rs 500 for the party. Our meeting point is Central Park of CP while we keep changing party venues," he said. Azad said that they keep all the data of members and inform them through an SMS about the party date and venue, and the fees. He said that whosoever joins the party has to show a received SMS to the organiser or they don't let him join.

"We don't allow strangers. A member can bring freshers, but he has to pay for the party. Mostly our party starts at midnight and comes to an end at 6am. On September 24 they are going to organise another party at Laxmi Nagar in east Delhi," said Azad. "We will conduct several raids in Delhi - at Central Park and other areas - to find Diwakar Gaur. We also plan to lodge an FIR of kidnapping against Azad," said officer Sunil Kumar.

Historic judgement
On July 2 2009, Delhi High Court legalised consensual homosexual activities between adults. The essence of the section 377 of the IPC goes against the fundamental right of human citizens, stated the court while striking it down. In a 105-page judgement, a bench of Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice S Muralidhar  said that if not amended, section 377 of the IPC would violate Article 14 of the Indian constitution, which states that every citizen has equal opportunity of life and is equal before law.

Time to celebrate: Members of LGBT community participating in the
Delhi Queer Pride Parade 2010 in the Capital, after Delhi High Court
legalised gay sex. File Pic

The two judge bench went on to hold that: "If there is one constitutional tenet that can be said to be underlying theme of the Indian Constitution, it is that of 'inclusiveness'. This court believes that Indian Constitution reflects this value deeply ingrained in Indian society, nurtured over several generations. The inclusiveness that Indian society traditionally displayed, literally in every aspect of life, is manifest in recognising a role in society for everyone. Those perceived by the majority as 'deviants' or 'different' are not on that score excluded or ostracised."

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