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Two Married Indian Women Who Were Lovers Self-Immolate

by Steve Weinstein
Contributor
Tuesday May 20, 2008
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Two women, married to men, set themselves ablaze as their families looked on in horror. They clung to each other when the families tried to separate them.

The incident took place in Sathangadu, near Thiruvotriyur, a city on the Bay of Bengal in southeastern Indian across from Ceylon.

Christy Jayanthi Malar, 38, met Rukmani, 40, at school. The women continued to see each other, to the consternation of both families. According to The Times of India, Rukmani had gone to Malar’s house, where her relatives abused both women. Then, on Saturday morning, May 17, they set themselves ablaze.

"We have reached a stage where one has to accept relationships which are not termed normal," said Sudha Ramalingam after the incident. "Everyone has the right, especially two consenting adults, to choose their way of life."

India still outlaws homosexual relationships, a law dating from the British raj.

"Same sex relationships are coming to the fore these days," said All India Democratic Women’s Association leader Vasuki. ."suicides are not a solution to any problem. and we do not have a coping mechanism in place."

Steve Weinstein has been a regular correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, the Advocate, the Village Voice and Out. He has been covering the AIDS crisis since the early ’80s, when he began his career. He is the author of "The Q Guide to Fire Island" (Alyson, 2007).

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