Washington, May 21: Indian American student Dharun Ravi, who is set to be sentenced ON Monday for hate crimes for using a webcam to spy on his roommate kissing another man, has surprisingly found support from gay rights advocates.
In the two months since he was found guilty “Ravi has gone from being a symbol of anti-gay bias to being something of a folk hero, with rallies of his supporters urging the court to‘Free Dharun,’” as the New York Times noted in a front page story.
Ravi was not charged over the death of his roommate Tyler Clementi (18) who committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge in New York a few days after the spying incident in September 2010.. But arguing in his defence prominent gay rights advocates cited by the Times suggested that Ravi is being punished for the suicide of his roommate and that pinning blame on him ignores the complicated social pressures that drive gay teenagers to kill themselves.
In an editorial on Sunday Star-Ledger of Newark Editorial Board said “Prison for Dharun Ravi would be ‘a serious injustice’” “State prison is for rapists, murderers and muggers. Not a weaselly college bully who’s learned his lesson,” it said.
“Home News” of New Brunswick, New Jersey also noted that defence attorneys who want Ravi to stay out of jail are backed by numerous outspoken members of both the gay and Indian communities.
Taking note of the “various demonstrations around New Jersey in support of Dharun Ravi, as well as the voices of almost every LGBT publication” it said: “If we are to jail students for pranks, we might as well shut down the colleges and build a lot more prisons.” (IANS)