Sexual States: Governance and the Struggle over the Antisodomy Law in India
“Half Truths”: Racializations, Habitual Criminals, and the Police
Continuing the focus on juridical aspects of the state, this chapter turns to the antisodomy law’s significance to practices and discourses of law enforcement. Fieldwork conducted with the Delhi Police highlights the subjective, sexualized aspects of law enforcement that are analyzed in this chapter in two ways. First, pivoting around discussions with police constables and more senior members of the Delhi Police, the chapter shows that the generic homosexual is not the primary target of law enforcement. Rather the crucial insight is that policing in Delhi is more likely to imperil racialized religious minorities, particularly Muslims, whom the police associate with sexual crimes. Making the case that Muslims are being racialized within the national context and specifically within police discussions, the chapter helps explain the inconsistencies of policing and the endemic forms of prejudice that so quickly rise to the forefront in relation to enforcing the antisodomy law. Second, indicating how police also target hijras, the analysis addresses the flexible uses of Section 377 that permit governance well beyond the law’s scope.