Ghulam Nabi Azad, India's health
minister, has stirred controversy with comments he made against gay
people, the BBC reported.
At a national meeting Monday of
regional elected leaders on HIV/AIDS prevention, Azad said that being
gay was “unnatural and not good for India.”
“It is a disease which has come from
other countries,” he said.
“Even though it is unnatural, it
exists in our country and is now spreading, making it tough to detect
it,” Azad added.
“With relationships changing, men are
having sex with men now. Though it is easy to find women sex workers
and educate them on sex, it is a challenge to identify men having sex
with men.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this
The comments come two years after
India's high court decriminalized gay sex.
Anand Grover, United Nations special
rapporteur on health, called the comments “regrettable.”
“It's unfortunate, regrettable and
totally unacceptable that a minister of his stature … is still
insensitive to vulnerable groups such as MSM [men who have sex with
men],” Grover told the Hindustan Times.
Gay rights activist Mohnish Kabir
Malhotra called on the minister to apologize.
“I think the minister needs to
apologize immediately,” the AFP quoted him as saying. “He has
insulted the entire homosexual community. Homosexuality is very much
a part of nature and it even finds references in religious texts. To
call it unnatural is absurd.”