India: Gay pride parade takes place in New Delhi

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Hundreds of LGBT activists in New Delhi have marched in a Pride parade.

Organisers say Sunday’s procession was one of the largest seen in the event’s five-year history.

Those taking part carried a nearly 15-meter-long rainbow banner and held placards calling on the Indian government to extend anti-discrimination laws to schools, workplaces and public and private areas.

The sound of traditional Indian drums filled the parade with a mood of celebration and dance.

India is home to an estimated 2.5 million gay citizens, according to India’s ANI news agency.

Even so, public attitudes remain conservative and gay rights activists say discrimination is widespread.

Last year, the country’s Health Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, told a conference that homosexuality was “unnatural and a foreign disease.”

In February, a senior government lawyer told the country’s Supreme Court that gay sex was “immoral” and “spreads HIV”.

Homosexuality was decriminalised by the Delhi High Court in July 2009, when it was ruled to have been in violation of the constitution.

Section 377 was enacted in 1860 under the British Raj, in line with the anti-sodomy laws in England at the time.