by Rex Wockner
International News Briefs
An Indian languages professor at Aligarh Muslim University in Aligarh, India, who was driven from his job in mid-February after a TV news crew burst into his house and taped him having sex with a male “rickshaw puller,” apparently committed suicide in early April, local media reported.
Dr. Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras was suspended from his job for “gross misconduct” and then resigned, after students reportedly sent the TV crew to his residence. He was found dead April 7 on his bed in his new, off-campus apartment.
Some gay activists and media reports have suggested the timing of the apparent suicide was curious, given that a court had just ordered the university to reinstate Siras.
“The police are suggesting suicide because that’s a convenient verdict for them, but it really seems unlikely,” said one gay leader, speaking privately. “He had just won a victory in the Allahabad High Court, which directed AMU to revoke its suspension. … The people who spoke last to him … say that he was cheerful and upbeat. The whole process had been a sort of rebirth for him, from the utter disgrace of the exposure and early newspaper reports, then the support he got from the gay and lesbian community, and even from people within AMU. … It just seems so completely unlikely that he would commit suicide when things were going his way.”
The AMU Teachers Association and LGBT activist groups have demanded that officials conduct a high-level examination of the circumstances of Siras’ death.
In a joint statement, the gay groups and other non-governmental organizations said:
“That Dr. Siras had to undergo the trauma, fear, harassment and humiliation in his own beloved university in what would turn out to be his last weeks is condemnable. If these events and that trauma are in any way linked to his death, then all actors involved must be held culpable.”