Australian-Born LGBT Activist Peter Tatchell Released From House Arrest In Mumbai
Australian-born LGBTQI and human rights activist Peter Tatchell has been released from ‘house arrest’.
While Tatchell has been released, he is still under “constant surveillance by the police 24/7.” This includes, “being followed by officers on foot and motorbikes every time they leave the hotel.”
Visited India To Protest International Olympic Committee
Tatchell visited India in order to protest outside the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Congress in Mumbai. The protest was meant to highlight the lack of democracies bidding to host the 2036 Olympics.
“All the nations likely to bid for the 2036 Olympics are dictatorships that persecute their own citizens, especially LGBTs, women, migrant workers, refugees and ethnic and religious minorities,” a statement from the Peter Tatchell Foundation read.
In the statement, Mumbai Police Sub Inspector Shrikrant Neve explained, “We are not giving permission [to protest]. You make serious accusations against India [over its human rights record]. What you are proposing to do is negative towards some of India’s allies.”
‘I Assumed That India Was A Democracy’
On October 13, after searching his belongings, documenting his diary, and interrogating him, Mumbai police placed Tatchell under ‘house arrest’ in his hotel in Mumbai.
“I was stunned, Tatchell said. “I assumed that India was a democracy and that peaceful protests by anyone were allowed. This ban is a blow to India’s democratic reputation. It is what we expect from police state regimes.
“The police added that I had, in any case, violated the condition of my tourist visa, which does not permit anything other than tourist activities. I was not aware of this restriction and offered to apply for a new visa. ‘A protest will still not be allowed,’ I was told.
“I also asked to meet the city’s senior police officers, or the relevant government officials, to secure a dispensation – not to protest – but to merely distribute our briefing document to IOC delegates and journalists. I was told that this would ‘not be allowed’ and that ‘no protests of any kind are allowed near the IOC meeting…the entire area is off limits.’
“It is shocking that India feels so threatened by a simple briefing on human rights violations.”
The IOC Congress was scheduled to take place at Mumbai’s Jio World Centre from October 15-17.
In October 2022, Tatchell was arrested after he staged a one-man protest against Qatar’s homophobic laws ahead of the FIFA World Cup. This was the first-ever public LGBTQI+ protest in Qatar or any Gulf state for that matter.