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Go to the cops, says gay man

Updated on: 10 May,2009 06:04 AM IST  | 
Hemal Ashar | hemal@mid-day.com

Cosmetics store manager gives gays positive message about men in khakhi

Go to the cops, says gay man

Cosmetics store manager gives gays positive message about men in khakhi

Cherag Bambboat (29) manager of a cosmetics store in South Mumbai says he still gets nightmares one month after he claims he was assaulted by a friend Faraaz H Mistry, who gypped him of Rs 30,000. Things turned ugly once Cherag started pressing Faraaz to return his money.u00a0u00a0

Salute the police
Cherag, though, has decided to tell his story because he wants to send a positive message about the courage to speak out and the police to all, especially homosexuals who as a rule have a negative image of the cops and would be extremely reluctant to approach them.u00a0 Cherag says,u00a0 "With my story I want to say, do not shove things under the carpet. Make a noise and stand up for what is right. There is a remedial and protective instinct in the police officers even today. I pay my full respects to the Mumbai police and the tactful way in which Gamdevi and Dongri police stations have handled this."

Doffing the hat
Cherag especially doffs his hat off to Dongri police ACP Nalawade and Senior Inspector Bharat Tambe. Cherag adds, "I put my trust in the police and it paid off with great justice. Many gays, especially, are afraid to approach the police fearing harassment and intimidation, but I have learnt that the law spares no one, I mean no one. I thank all those who stood by me and salute the Mumbai police for the justice they fight to obtain every day in thousands of cases."

All too fast
Cherag, Peddar Road resident and son of the well-known ophthalmic surgeon Dr Villie Neriosang Bamboat, is an out-of-the-closet homosexual. Cherag claims that he met Faraaz in July 2008. From then on, Cherag says, "We became friends maybe all too fast," adding, "I became a crutch for Faraaz who used to tell me about how he was having marital problems. One day, Faraaz also told me he was not completely heterosexual."

Money matters
Cherag says, "Towards the end of 2008, Faraaz, who resides at Muhammad Ali Road, first borrowed Rs 25,000 as a loan in September-October 2008 with promises to return it to me. He then borrowed Rs 5,000 in November 2008 for his grandmother's hospital expenses."u00a0 Faraaz, though, denies this asking, "Does Cherag have any proof that I have taken the money? There is no evidence of this. People can claim anything. I do not know why you want to write about this. It is such an old matter. There are bigger and more important issues to pursue."u00a0

Paid for sex?
Cherag adds that repeated queries about return of his money towards December end 2008 elicited no response.
Cherag says that, "We (my family and I) approached the Gamdevi police station and we were told to settle the matter amicably."

A meeting was set up at Worli Seaface some time after that, with Cherag and his father and Faraaz and his father. Cherag says, "At that meeting, Faraaz said that he had not borrowed the money but that I had paid him for certain 'services', like having sex with me. I was shocked. I showed Faraaz's father an SMS message from his son's number to mine saying he loves me," says Cherag. "I asked, 'If he loved me, then why would I need to pay him for sex as Faraaz claimed?' Finally, both families came to an understanding that there would be no further contact between us."

Dangerous drive
Cherag says he received a slew of distasteful SMS messages for several months after the Worli Sea Face meeting from Faraaz's number.u00a0 Cherag says, "After I got one SMS threatening my mother's life, I decided to meet Faraaz in Dongri on the night of April 6, 2009 to ask him why he was sending the messages." Cherag says, "I drove down and Faraaz got into my car. We went to Wadi Bunder bridge to talk. Instead, I was assaulted, Faraaz rained blows to my head. I stopped the car and managed to kick Faraaz out of the car." Faraaz says, "I did not assault Cherag or hit him. We had an alteration. Cherag has money and connections, he can say anything. This is an old matter, let it drop."u00a0u00a0

Law steps in
Cherag filed police complaints at the Dongri police station on that very night. Cherag says, "I also filed an application with the Gamdevi police station." Senior Inspector S Kathe's assistant at Gamdevi confirmed that Cherag had come in to the police station adding, "We have also told Cherag that if he gets more threats or threatening phone calls, he can report the matter to us."u00a0 Dongri's Senior Inspector Bharat Tambe says, "The matter has been amicably resolved. We called both of them, Faraaz and Cherag to the police station after that incident and everything was settled. There have been no more complaints. They can always approach us again if there is any problem." Cherag, the make-up artiste, now warns people to be wary of con artists, "I want to tell people that do not believe strangers with their sob stories and they could be untrue."

An outdated law?
Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) is a piece of legislation in India introduced during the British rule. It is used to criminalise homosexuality and is commonly referred to as the anti-sodomy law. The lection 377 was drafted in 1860 by Lord Macaulay. It has been heavily criticised by several literary figures prominent amongst which is Vikram Seth. The Section 377 is currently under a constitutional challenge at the Delhi High Court. In August 2008, Mumbai witnessed a high-profile Gay Pride parade called Queer Azadi March (QAM) that began from August Kranti Maidan (Gwalior Tank) to Chowpatty where the community created awareness about their demand for azaadi or freedom from Section 377.

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