On 7 April 2007, 62-year-old Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras was found dead in his room in Aligarh. A day back, the professor of modern Indian languages in the Aligarh Muslim University had returned to the university to teach, following a period of suspension.
The Allahabad High Court had temporarily lifted the suspension order to let him resume work. Siras was suspended after a group of AMU's students sneaked in a camera in his room in the college campus. They filmed Siras having consensual sex with another man--a rickshawpuller--and then showed the video to the college authorities. Eager to put the 'embarrassment' behind them, the university suspended the professor. The men who invaded the man's personal space were neither rapped for faced any action.
Eight years on, the cause of Siras' death is not clear though it has been assumed that he killed himself. However, the man he was filmed with, his lover, opened up about their relationship for the first time.
Speaking to The Times of India, the man said how he was on the verge of ending his own life after Siras' death and how the professor was a friend before a lover.
"I heard Arun Jaitely, Shashi Tharoor and Prashant Bhushan have been debating recently about this. I want to meet these people and those in power and tell them my story - Siras and I. There was no one closer to him than me. After his death I went through hell. Police grilled me and people spat on me. Some days after Siras committed suicide, I set myself ablaze but survived. My wife saved me. She told me I have to live to take care of my children. With Siras I, too, would have gone. I was not gay, but over time, we became intimate. I was his saathi (friend)," he said.
Recounting the day's events when they were caught on camera, he said, "We had come back from a fair and suddenly three boys who claimed to be from the media came inside our room. They had filmed us. They kept asking, 'Aap sharminda hain?' (Are you ashamed?) And Siras replied, "Haan, main sharminda hoon. Ab mujhe jaane dijiye. (Yes, I am ashamed. Now, please leave me alone).
Aligarh Muslim University Teacher's Association (AMUTA had demanded a high-level probe into Siras' death. General secretary Jamshed Siddique had told PTI what Siras had been put through before his death: "One thing is clear, he was subjected to severe harassment by the university authorities and was under intense mental pressure."
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