Gay Indian student granted asylum in Australia

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MELBOURNE: A gay student, who fled India to escape his oppressive family and an arranged marriage, has been granted refugee status in Australia.

The 25-year-old commerce graduate, who lives with his boyfriend in New South Wales, was granted asylum by Australia’s Refugee Review Tribunal, The Australian reported.

He first arrived on a student visa in March 2009 to study for a diploma in business management but withdrew from the course after six months.

When the man last returned to his home city of Hyderabad in India in 2011, he claimed that his father locked him in a bedroom and pressured him to enter into 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 the Australian Capital Territory before its 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.”

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