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AMU prof may have been victim of sting

There is still no clarity on who framed Aligarh Muslim University’s Modern Indian Languages Department chairman Dr Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras who was suspended on February 10 after a video clip showed him having consensual sex with a man.....

Written by Georgina Maddox | New Delhi | Published: February 19, 2010 1:20 am

There is still no clarity on who framed Aligarh Muslim University’s Modern Indian Languages Department chairman Dr Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras who was suspended on February 10 after a video clip showed him having consensual sex with a man. University sources said a group of private individuals,and not students,was behind the recording — the professor was reportedly the victim of a “sting” operation by a local news channel.

Meanwhile,sources close to the Vice-Chancellor’s office said the university was taking a serious view of the affair. “We cannot belittle this incident which took place in the campus. The university will inquire into the matter. The professor will have all chances of representation before the inquiry committee and all legal options will be open to him,” said a top university official.

“Prof Siras has been suspended for gross misconduct on campus. He will be chargesheeted and given a chance to respond. The university will decide whether to initiate disciplinary proceedings against him based on the complaint,” said AMU PRO Rahat Abrar. “He has been asked to vacate the campus in seven days,but will be free to come to the campus while the inquiry is on.” However,the professor will not be free to leave Aligarh area.

Siras,who was due to retire in September,had reportedly divorced his wife shortly after marriage and was living alone on the campus. Siras was unavailable for comment.

However,the treatment meted out to the professor has come in for widespread condemnation from rights activists. “It is the constitutional right of all adults to have consensual sex in their own private space. One could have anticipated this kind of reaction before the Delhi High Court judgment on Section 377 last year. However,even though the matter is now before the Supreme Court,it is clear that the High Court has upheld this constitutional right,” said Ponni Arasu,a gay rights activist. “The university’s response was not to condemn those who did the sting,but to openly discriminate against the professor. If institutions have these kinds of reactions we will hold the institution accountable for discrimination at the work place on the basis of sexual orientation. “

LGBTI (Lesbian Gay Bisexual,Trans and Intersex) community is circulating a signed letter of protest. “It is not a colleague or student,so why is the university getting involved and talking of moral turpitude? We need an organisation like Lamda Legal,a US based organisation that gives legal aid to queer people in distress,to act on these kinds of cases,” says Vikram Doctor of Gay Bombay.

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