Footage of a holy man being violently beaten by a group of people who suspected he was gay has gone viral in India.
The mob beat then ripped the clothes off holy man Lokesh Pujari in the city of Mangaluru, on the east coast, according to local media.
The footage also shows the mob demanding an apology and then cutting the man’s hair with a sickle.
The mob reportedly found out he had had sexual relations with another man.
A number of people appear to record the incident on mobile phones rather than intervene or alert authorities.
A lot of people shared the footage online with mixed reactions.
Reports did not reveal what happened to the man following the beating.
But, conservative attitudes prevail. Six out of ten young people, for example, believe homosexuality is wrong.
Activists have warned that while the law may have changed last year, attitudes will take much longer to catch up.
Introduced by the British in 1861, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code outlawed ‘carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal’.
India’s Supreme Court in September last year decided to abolish parts of the law.
They ruled elements that criminalized sex acts between consenting adults violated the constitution.
Significantly, the court ruled that: ‘Sexual orientation of an individual is natural and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a violation of Freedom of Expression’.
‘We have to vanquish prejudice, embrace inclusion, and ensure equal rights,’ said Justice Misra in his judgment.
India’s gay prince Manvendra Singh Gohil warned: ‘Even though legally we may be free, we are not yet free socially’.
‘We will have to do a lot of effort so that society also accepts us’.