Australia: Indian gay student granted asylum after being held captive by family

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A gay Indian student whose family attempted to force him into an arranged marriage with a woman has been granted asylum in Australia.

According to the Australian, the 25-year-old, who lives with his boyfriend in New South Wales, was granted asylum last week.

The commerce graduate first arrived on a student visa in March 2009.

He told the Refugee Review Tribunal that when he returned to India in 2011, he was held captive by his father in his home city of Hyderabad, and pressured to enter an arranged marriage.

He alleged he was was also threatened by his male cousins, who held a knife to his throat, and a local Muslim cleric.

He escaped with the help of a family friend, but upon reaching Australia was eventually rejected on the grounds of asylum.

The immigration department found in July 2012 that while he was homosexual, the mistreatment did not amount to persecution.

Granting him leave to stay last week, the Refugee Review Tribunal held that if he returned to India, it was “reasonable to believe he would be assaulted and probably forced to marry, and if he were to refuse he would probably face more serious harm and be killed”.

The judgement continued: “If the applicant were to return and try to relocate, this would result in his being disowned by his family and probably they would seek to find and harm him.

“I also accept that he would not be able to live openly as a homosexual in India at any location as, if he did, this would result in ostracism and probable further significant harm.”

The man and his partner had registered to marry in Australian Capital Territory, before ACT’s same-sex marriage law was struck down in December.

His partner told the tribunal: “We are committed to be together for life… the law in Australia treats everyone as equal.”