What if you were gay and you were an officer in the Indian Air Force?
By Anupam Thakur Anupram Nath and Suresh Dutta Published: February 05, 2019 17:06 ISTIn 2016, Anupal Nath was a young officer in India’s Air Force who was working as an engineer.
At the time, the country was grappling with the aftermath of the 2014 Peshawar school massacre, which left over 300 people dead.
The incident sparked national protests and a crackdown on extremism in the armed forces.
When he was selected to serve in the Air Force, Nath faced a lot of challenges.
He was a Muslim and was accused of “inciting hatred and enmity between the community”.
The Air Force’s “anti-hate and bigotry” policy is meant to tackle any perceived intolerance or bigotry in the ranks.
But in 2017, it was revealed that Nath had written to a gay man who was then serving in the same position.
“The letter was in the handwriting of an officer.
He said that in this letter, he had ‘expressed’ his ‘love’ to that person and that the two of them were going to be friends,” said Nath, who was part of the first batch of candidates for the newly minted Directorate General of Personnel (DGP) and a member of the All India Parliamentary Women’s Cell (APWC). “
He had also written about the gay community in India.
He said that in this letter, he had ‘expressed’ his ‘love’ to that person and that the two of them were going to be friends,” said Nath, who was part of the first batch of candidates for the newly minted Directorate General of Personnel (DGP) and a member of the All India Parliamentary Women’s Cell (APWC).
Nath was arrested and charged under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in 2017.
The law criminalises “promoting enmities between two groups of people” by “threatening to kill or inflict grievous bodily harm on any person”.
The Delhi High Court ordered that Nath be tried in court.
The trial court rejected his appeal against his conviction, which was upheld by the Supreme Court.
In a written statement, the Air Defence Ministry said Nath’s “conduct was in line with the standards of conduct expected of a member in uniform.”
The ministry said Nath had “not been convicted of any offence” and “has been released on bail pending the outcome of the proceedings.”
Nathan has since filed a petition challenging the verdict and said he hopes to “recover my freedom in a fair and just manner”.
Ninth batch of recruitsIn the 2016 batch, the air force was one of the few armed forces that was not only a member-only society but was also committed to diversity in its ranks.
The new recruits in the Directorate General’s (DG) were chosen based on merit.
Anupal and Anil Sharma, the leaders of the AAP’s new cadre, were chosen to lead the new batch, as were several senior officers.
According to the DG, the cadre consisted of 16 candidates, all women.
A list of the candidates included three transgender candidates, a woman from an NGO, and a gay person.
Narendra Kapoor, the party’s deputy general secretary, said the women were “highly qualified” for the job.
The party also announced that the new recruits would be given “equal opportunity” to compete against their male counterparts.
AAP’s new chief has yet to make an announcement on the selection process.
India is a predominantly Hindu country and the country’s constitution prohibits discrimination on the grounds of religion or gender.
The country also prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.
In 2016 the Delhi High court upheld the ban on gay marriage, and in 2019, the Supreme Judicial Court also overturned the ban.
The Indian Air Defence Force, a defence organisation that was founded in 1949, is one of India’s oldest armed forces and has over 200,000 personnel.
The DG’s appointment as the DG comes amid mounting tensions between the country and Pakistan.
After a series of recent attacks by Pakistani militants, the Indian government has announced that it would send troops to the border.