Mumbai Police have denied permission to the organisers of the city’s annual queer pride parade, claiming they have information that placards and slogans criticising the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens might be used at the event.
The pride march was scheduled to be begin at August Kranti Maidan on February 1 evening. It was to be the culmination of a series of events organised by Queer Azaadi Mumbai over the past five weeks. Queer Azaadi Mumbai is a “collective of individuals and organisations voluntarily joining hands for the queer cause and demanding equal rights for the queer community”.
The parade was expected to be attended by almost 15,000 people, according to The Quint. It has been held every year since 2008. Pride parades, which have since been held in various cities regularly, are a celebration of the diversity of sexual orientations and gender identities.
Queer Azaadi Mumbai tweeted a letter from the police, who said a case would be filed if the event went ahead even without permission. The police told the organisation it would have to cover the costs if government or public properties were damaged during the event. “This notice will be used as evidence against you in a court of law,” the letter added.
Activist Harish Iyer tagged Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi on Twitter, on Twitter and urged them to intervene. “Mumbai Police works under the state government. Could we do something for the Pride march? It’s been happening since the past 10 years.”
A police official told Mumbai Mirror that the march organisers were told that the event could be infiltrated by those might want to politicise it. “That will ruin the very purpose of the march,” the official added. “Moreover, if at all the organisers were keen on taking out the march, they should ensure to keep outsiders at bay, which they failed to submit.”
Iyer told the newspaper that the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens were “something which affects the lives of so many people”, so “it also affects the lives of queer persons”. “So we cannot have a march which doesn’t speak about the rights that are being denied because of CAA or NRC,” he added. “The police want us to give assurance that CAA, NRC protests will not be included in our march.”