Let me start by saying that same-sex unions is no longer illegal in India (marriage is not recognized), but it is far from being accepted.
The relationship of 19 year old Sarmila Malla and her girlfriend of six months was found to be "immoral" by the villagers. It escalated to violence when the villagers "found" Sarmila in bed with her girlfriend of the same village of Chandol, Odisha. Sarmila speaks to TimesofIndia saying, "I was dragged out of my house by my neighbours. They beat me up and tied me to a tree. They abused me and kicked me when my parents tried to rescue me." In reference to her girlfriend Sarmila said, "We are madly in love."
Despite the brutal act, Sarmila's attackers felt very much justified, including fellow villager Ganesh Parida who said, "We beat up and tied Sarmila to a tree in our village as she is a lesbian. She is immoral and besmirched the name of our village."
Other residents didn't think so. Another resident of Chandal, Odisha, a man named Ranjan Parida feared for Sarmila and could only watch helplessly.
"Though she was not badly injured, I was appalled by what I saw," he reported.
Villagers reported the incident to the police who took Sarmila down from the tree and opened an investigation. The attackers could face up to seven years in prison.
"We have registered a case against some villagers. The attackers could face up to seven years in prison. During investigation, we found that both girls were in a relationship, which was being opposed by the villagers." says Police Officer Prakash Chandra Pal.
India's most notable lesbian individual is Dutee Chan, 23, who became India's first openly gay athlete. She urges for India's change to accepting legal marriage and hopes that one day India will truly accept the LGBT community.