A lesbian couple ended their lives in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad on Monday by jumping into the Sabarmati river, PTI reported. They jumped after throwing a three-year-old girl, who was the daughter of one of the women, into the river. Same-sex relationships are at present illegal in India.

Fire and emergency services personnel retrieved the bodies of 30-year-old Asha Thakor and 28-year-old Bhavna Thakor. The child, Asha Thakor’s daughter, was alive when rescued from the river but was declared dead at the hospital. Bhavna Thakor’s brother-in-law said her husband had ended his life on June 8 after she left home, The Times of India reported.

The women purportedly left a suicide note written in lipstick on the bank of the river. “We have left this world to live with each other,” the note read. “The world did not allow us to stay together. We did not have any men with us.”

Another note found at the site said: “This world did not allow us to stay together. When will we meet again? When will we meet… perhaps in the next birth… we will meet again.”

Ahmedabad Police Inspector MS Singh said Asha Thakor’s brother-in-law appeared to have known about the women’s relationship. “It appears that they first threw the child into the river before jumping off the Ellisbridge,” Singh told the Hindustan Times. Asha Thakor’s husband, Himmatsinh Thakor, is being treated at a local hospital after he took ill following the incident.

The two women worked with a private firm in Rajoda. Bhavna Thakor is survived by two sons.

Similar cases

In 2001, in Kerala two tribal girls were found dead near an irrigation canal after their families refused to let them marry. In 2008, two women set themselves on fire in Chennai after their families tried to separate them.

In 2011, two women killed themselves in Nandigram in West Bengal, stating in their suicide note that they could not live without one another. And two years later, two young women fled to Bengaluru from Kerala hoping to live together away from their disapproving families.

Indian law and homosexuality

Section 377, which dates back to the British colonial period, criminalises anal and oral sex, referring to it as “unnatural sex”, and states that it is “against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal”. It prescribes a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.

In 2009, the Delhi High Court read down Section 377 to decriminalise sexual activity between members of the same sex. However, in 2013 the Supreme Court set aside the order. In January, the top court said it would revisit the constitutional validity of the section and referred it to a Constitution bench.