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Will set up treatment camps for homosexuality: Goa minister to NYT

Will set up treatment camps for homosexuality: Goa minister to NYT

Panaji: Goa's Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Ramesh Tawadkar has been quoted in the The New York Times as saying that homosexuality was a "big problem" and that his government would set up "camps" to treat the LGBT youth.

This came less than 48 hours after attracting criticism for his comments about setting up centres to cure the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community with training and medication.

The story published on the NYT web site late Tuesday further claims that in a telephonic interview, Tawadkar also said that Baba Ramdev's yoga expertise would be used to counsel the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.

"We will tell them what to do, and how to get over same-sex feelings," Tawadkar has been quoted in the NYT story, which also says: "Tawadkar called homosexuality a 'big problem' in Indian society."

Tawadkar, while speaking to the media on the sidelines of a function held to launch the Goa State Youth Policy 2015, Monday said that the Goa government was contemplating to start centres on the lines of Alcoholics Anonymous in order to make the LGBT youth normal.

"We will train them and (give them) medicines too," he had also said.

After an avalanche of criticism in India, as well as in the international media over his comments, Tawadkar earlier Tuesday claimed that he had been misquoted, even as Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar had denied any plans on behalf of the government to "cure" LGBT youth.

Parsekar, while speaking to reporters at the state secretariat, also rapped Tawadkar for his ignorance over his controversial comments.

The New Delhi datelined NYT report also attributes Tawadkar as saying that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in Goa has plans to set up treatment camps for LGBT youth.

"Tawadkar confirmed in the interview Tuesday that the state government, run by the Bharatiya Janata Party, intended to set up 'camps' to treat lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people. He gave few specifics, but said that the programme would include counselling," the report says.

The report also quotes Tawadkar as saying that Baba Ramdev's assistance would be sought to counsel gays and drug addicts.

"Tawadkar, the youth minister, said that Baba Ramdev's 'expertise' in yoga instruction would be used to counsel gay people and drug addicts," the report said.

Ramdev in 2013 had claimed that homosexuality is unnatural and that he had a cure for it.

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