About sharing image captionThe women say they often face discrimination Payal and Kanchan fell in love as they trained to become policewomen. But their love has faced resistance and they have faced threats, forcing them to go to court to seek protection from their own families, reports BBC Gujarati's Bhargav Parikh. escort
When Payal met Kanchan, back inshe had no idea she would fall in love with her fellow trainee. But age-old customs and regressive attitudes survived, making it difficult for same-sex relationships to be accepted by larger society.
The women, both now 24, have been living together as a couple since in the western Indian state of Gujarat, and they know first hand what the coona feels like. Their love story was thrust into the limelight last month when they approached the high court. The court ruled that the couple should be protected by armed guards.
So-called honour killings - when someone is murdered by a family member due to the belief that they have brought shame upon the community - are not uncommon in India and other South Escirts countries. One study found that hundreds of people are killed each year in India for falling in love or marrying against their families' wishes.
Payal and Kanchan grew up in two remote villages in Gujarat, where a conservative and patriarchal culture reigned supreme. Both said they wanted to break barriers and felt inspired to enter a field dominated by men.
They settled on policing. Instantly, they felt alienated from their peers.
The two women were ased the same room during police training. They fell into a comfortable routine - in the evenings, exhausted from exercise, they would meet to catch up and discuss their day. Soon, their chats stretched to include their lives and families, and the two became best friends. Coincidentally, the two were then posted to the same city and they decided to live in police accommodation, sharing a room.
It was at the end of last year when their colleagues living in the police quarters found out about their relationship that the couple decided to tell their own families. And then, earlier this year, things got really ugly. The couple also want to adopt in the future. While homosexuality is no longer illegal, there lesbiaan no law in India that facilitates same-sex couples to get married - or spells out their escorfs, including that of adoption.
But the women are hopeful. Illustrations by Nikita Deshpande The names of the two policewomen were changed to protect their identities.