The sad story of Dr Siras.Time to end this moral policing

Dr Srinivas Ramachandra Siras,Chairman of the Department of Modern Indian Languages at Aligarh Muslim University was about to retire from his job in September this year after 22 years of distinguished service.. But on February 19, 2010 he was suspended from his job and was asked to leave the University campus vacating his quarters. His crime…..? Having consensual sex in the privacy of his quarters. All the hell broke loose because of a minor factor. His partner was a man.

The Vice Chancellor said he is being suspended for grave misconduct. The suspension was on the basis of a video recording filmed inside Dr Siras’s quarters with out his consent.

Dr Siras approached the High Court. On April 1 a Division Bench of Allahabad High Court stayed the suspension and allowed Dr Siras to resume his work and to live in his quarters.

On April 4 Dr Siras approached the Chief Judicial Magistrate seeking action against AMU officials and media persons for intruding his privacy, harassing and blackmailing him.

The life less body of 62-year-old Siras, was found on April 7 lying on the bed in his private apartment outside the University. It was believed that he died at least 2 days ago, may be on April 5, the day after he approached the Court against University authorities. Cause of death is still not known.

Was he killed? Or did he commit suicide? He was on the verge of a personal victory after the High Court order. He proved that he is a fighter by approaching the Court against University authorities. Will such a person take his own life at that particular juncture?

The family members and the Teachers Association have demanded high level probe into the matter.

Some people on the AMU faculty believe that the Vice Chancellor of the University was trying to divert attention from the negative publicity it had received with the recent inquiry ordered by the President of India, Pratibha Patil, after instances of financial bungling and mismanagement came to light. They believe that the video filming was arranged and paid for by top administrators of the University.

A first information report (FIR) was finally registered against four Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) officials and some journalists for breaching the privacy of Dr Siras, on April 9. The case was registered only because of the directions of the court.

The Integrated network of sexual minorities of India [INFOSEM] has started an online petition campaign in this issue. The network demands a judicial enquiry into the whole issue and the suspension of the Vice Chancellor; they want the AMU to respect the rights of its faculty and students, especially their privacy in matters of sex, sexuality and gender.

Aligarh Muslim University is supposed to be the bastion of minority religious rights. But when it comes to the rights of sexual minorities AMU was found inept in ensuring justice.

In view of the recent landmark Delhi High Court judgment legalising Gay sex, let us hope that at least in future, rights of sexual minorities will not be trampled upon by society.


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