Late last night, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted out his condolences to the victims and the families of the shooting in Orlando, Florida that left at least 50 people dead and about 53 others injured.
Shocked at the shootout in Orlando, USA. My thoughts & prayers are with the bereaved families and the injured.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 12, 2016
Even though his tweet, similar to what leaders around the world have said following the tragedy, got over three thousand retweets and more than seven thousand people 'favourited' it, others were quick to point one key fact about the deadly shooting.
@narendramodi sir, gay nightclub tha.— #BeerAndMore (@sambha_bhilane) June 12, 2016
Indian law is yet to strike down section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, that criminalises "unnatural sex" even if it is consensual, as among two consenting gay partners. Thanks to the discriminatory law and cultural bias against the LGBTQ community in India, there are stories of routine suffering and humiliation. Even though some members of the ruling BJP government have claimed they would support the decriminalisation of gay sex, other senior political members have called homosexuality a "genetic disorder".
In the past, senior party leaders have unambiguously opposed the right to gay sex, calling homosexuality "unnatural", and even claimed they would "make LGBT youth normal". The LGBTQ community has lashed out against the BJP for its double-speak.
The shooting took place in a gay nightclub in Orlando, reportedly because the shooter was angry seeing two gay men kissing on a previous occasion. This finds no mention in PM Modi's tweet.
A lot of Indians responded to his message, asking him to scrap section 377.
Dear PM @narendramodi ji, you think LGBT people are safe in India? That too, in YOUR government?— Veejay Sai (@veejaysai) June 12, 2016
@narendramodi the LGBTQ community don't need your "thoughts & prayers", they need you to stop criminalising their lives.— Michael Poland (@_michaelpoland_) June 13, 2016
@narendramodi Maybe you will wake up and smell the coffee in your own country.— Vivek Tejuja (@vivekisms) June 13, 2016
@narendramodi everyday LGBT people in India face abuse,harassment n violence.Why close your eyes wen it comes to LGBT people of this country— rituparna borah (@rituparnaborah) June 13, 2016
@narendramodi You have no right to express sorrow. first scrap Section 377 and then talk about mourning the deaths in The USA.— rituparna borah (@rituparnaborah) June 13, 2016
@narendramodi no prayers wud work unless u scrap 377 or pray some 2002 times. Good day😃— Siddharth Patni (@aageSeLeftLelo) June 13, 2016
@narendramodi What mr. Modi?It is happening in ur backyard & why u r not taking immidiate and firm action,but offering condolences 2 others.— NVPRASAD (@prasadnidtha) June 13, 2016
@narendramodi gay marriages are still banned in your own country sir.. make it legal first !!!😇— ♥Shenaz♥ (@shenazM14) June 13, 2016
@narendramodi decriminalize homosexuality in India before shedding these crocodile tears you mass murderer and hypocrite.— Arnab Banerji (@drarnabanerji) June 13, 2016
@narendramodi do you even know that it was a gay bar? Why don't you support gays in your country before US?— Ranjodh Singh (@TheRonnieSingh) June 13, 2016
@narendramodi Glad to see your direct stance. Now please work on IPC 377.— Jhankar Malakar (@jhankarplusm) June 13, 2016
@narendramodi It's no use conveniently omitting that it was a 'GAY Bar'.. the situation isn't different in our country too. LGBTQ are unsafe— Parth Pardeshi (@ParthPardeshi1) June 13, 2016
@narendramodi Dear Sir, Our Country Criminalises Gay Love, I am ashamed by this, please take a stand for love in times of hate.— Dhananjay Baijal (@DeejayBaj) June 13, 2016
@narendramodi It is so easy to console with America, but do nothing about 377 in your own country. Why so?— Vivek Tejuja (@vivekisms) June 13, 2016