Miss India Detained? Conflicting Reports Remain Over Gay Activist's Detainment

Hasleen Kaur, who was recently crowned Miss India Earth 2011, has been detained at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport on Dec. 7 for allegedly carrying high end purses and cosmetics worth 1.9 million Rupees without declaring them.

The Superintendent of Customs at the airport, Ashok Pandit, has explained that custom officials intercepted Kaur as she arrived at the airport from Thailand on Wednesday night, according to AP.

Officials said Kaur was suspected by officials of carrying high end purses and cosmetics which she had not declared before entering the country. The merchandise is valued at around $36,000.

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When officials approached her and stated that they intended to check the goods, she told them that the purses she was carrying were local products.

Officials apparently were not persuaded by her arguments. Custom officials then detained Kaur and confiscated her belongings at which time officials released her.

Kaur participated in the Miss India 2011 pageant and emerged as the Miss India Earth 2011 winner. Another top model, Kanishtha Dhankar, was crowned the Miss India World.

Kaur in the past has controversially expressed her support for gay rights, “Why do we define boundaries of love based on sexual orientation? I don’t understand why we should discriminate against a non-heterosexual.”

She continued, “They’re completely normal people with the ability to love. Their sexual orientation should in no way be a barrier in whatever they do. Whether it be obtaining jobs, education, a decent place in their family or a loving partner.”

In July 2009 the Delhi High Court decriminalized homosexuality between consenting adults. The move was controversial in India and it is still popular belief in the country that homosexuality is not a moral way to conduct one’s life. Conservative members of government such as India's Union Health Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, has spoken up against homosexuality calling it a "disease spread by developed countries," according to The Times of India.

The Times of India has reported that the Miss India has come out and publicly denied the rumors of her detainment, “I would like to make it clear that the article circulating in the media is baseless and a rumor. I landed back to our country on Friday night and I have landed in Delhi, not Mumbai. Secondly, I was coming from Manila, not Thailand."

Officials at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport were not available for comment regarding the conflicting reports.

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