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Traffic control refuses Mumbai Pride permission to march

Traffic control refuses Mumbai Pride permission to march

Traffic control has refused Queer Azaadi (freedom) Mumbai (QAM) permission to march through the city on Saturday 2 February.

Local police has agreed permission for the parade, which has been held every year since 2008, but traffic control rejected the organizers’ application.

‘They have just rejected our file without even meeting us or giving us any clear explanation,’ organizer Pallav Patankar told Gay Star News.

‘But we intend o speak to higher authorities and not let it go so easily.’

Patankar said he believed the hiccup was ‘just Indian bureaucracy’ rather than attempt to censor an expression of LGBT rights. He said there have been a lot of public protests in Mumbai recently and the authorities may feel that because QAM are not a political party, nor have political backing, ‘we are the easiest voices to silence’.

‘We, the LGBT community, walk the pride march to tell the nation that we are part of this country,’ Patankar told Times of India. ‘By denying us the right to march, we are being denied our right of free expression.’

The QAM festival started on Sunday with a kite flying event on Mumbai’s Juhu Beach and a queer games competition.

The full program includes theatre, a meeting for families, a treasure hunt, an open mic night, films, a rock concert and a flashmob.

QAM 2012 was a resounding success despite police interrupting a pre-festival fundraiser at the behest of a maverick ‘moral guardian’.

Last September police in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad refused permission for the first LGBT pride march there.