20/01/2017 11:40 AM IST | Updated 20/01/2017 12:32 PM IST

Volunteers Spreading HIV/AIDS Awareness Face Brutal Harassment By Cops, Says India's First Openly Gay Prince

"Cops themselves had forced sex with them without condoms."

SAJJAD HUSSAIN via Getty Images

In an interview with Agence France Presse (AFP), Manvendra Singh Gohil, India's first openly gay royal, said that volunteers who educated homosexual men and the transgender community about safe sex were constantly and brutally harassed by the police.

"Some of our workers were arrested and taken to the police station where the cops themselves had forced sex with them without condoms," Gohil told the wire agency.

Overturning an earlier Delhi High Court ruling to decriminalize S.377, a 2013 Supreme Court decision upheld a ban on gay sex, a move which was widely condemned as regressive. The Supreme Court ruled that only the Indian Parliament could overturn the colonial-era statute.

That outlook appeared to be rather bleak especially after the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party formed the majority in the Lok Sabha in the summer of 2014, although some leaders of the BJP and its big brother, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, appear to have softened their previously inflexible position against homosexuality.

READ: India's First Openly Gay Prince Has A Beautiful Message - 'I Seek Love, Not Privilege'

Gohil, the prince of Rajpipla, runs Lakshya Foundation, which promotes safer sexual practices in the homosexual and transgender community. "People are having sex under fear and unsafe sex practices are going on," he told AFP. "When we started work among the MSM (men having sex with men), we were harassed and threatened by police."

"We would keep condom packets in public toilets, and even hang them on trees in public parks because we did not want to stop them from having sex in toilets or behind the bushes. We just wanted them to have safe sex," he said.

Citing the Kamasutra and the homoerotic sculptures, Gohil told AFP, "People say homosexuality is a part of western culture. It is absolutely wrong."

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