A lesbian couple who committed suicide by setting themselves on fire have been put to rest in a joint cremation this week.
Christy Jayanthi Malar (38) and Rukmani (40) set themselves ablaze after their families took objection to their “unnatural relationship.”
It has been reported that the two women had suffered years of torment from their families who objected to the closeness of the couple.
Although being in a relationship since their school days the women both had husbands.
This is common in India where there huge social and legal pressures to live a heterosexual lifestyle.
The alarm was raised when smoke was seen coming from Mrs Malar’s home. When neighbours went in they found the bodies of the two women held in an embrace.
It is thought that the women committed suicide after an argument that Rukmani had with her relatives.
Police told reporters that the two doused themselves in kerosene before setting themselves alight.
In an ironic twist, the families who tried to separate them agreed for the bodies to be laid to rest in a joint cremation.
A senior police told The Times of India newspaper:
“We can’t say the relatives pushed the women into suicide.
“They might have verbally abused them, but that was to bring them back to normal life.”
Homosexual relations are legally still a crime in India under an old British era statute dating from 1860 called Section 377, though the government no longer seeks to prosecute adults engaging in private consensual homosexual acts.
In recent years, the campaign to decriminalise homosexuality has strengthened.
Time Out Delhi was launched last year with a homosexual section and listings featuring gay nights and social gatherings.