Statements of Radical Socialist

Statement on Suicide of Dr. Siras in AMU

Dr. Srinivas Siras, a Marathi professor at Aligarh Muslim University, was sacked after being accused of being gay. Allegedly, several AMU officials, including the proctor Jubair Khan and deputy proctor Farid Ahmed Khan, got two local television journalists to break into Siras’ home to videotape him having sex with another male person. This was submitted to the University administration, resulting in his suspension in February 2010. At the beginning of April, the Allahabad High Court ordered the University to rescind the suspension and to provide him with quarters till he retired later this year. But on April 7, less than a week after the High Court ruling, he was found dead under mysterious circumstances in his residence.

We believe that there is an urgent need to immediately dismantle India’s reactionary antigay laws, which, despite the Supreme Court judgement, are still in the statute books, and which provide legitimacy to the “morality crusaders” who take such actions as the AMU officials. There must be an immediate end to discrimination, punitive measures, and aggressive behavior on grounds of sexual orientation. The sexual relationships between two consenting adults cannot be the matter for police or any other external intervention. We are aware that social conservatism cannot be abolished by fiat, and know that a long political battle is still before us in order to ensure social legitimation of freedom of sexual orientation. But we do demand and fight for the legal protection of those who have different sexual orientations. The AMU administration gave its support to a break and entry operation into the house of Professor Siras and decided to punish him for an act that had no bearing on his performance in the University, and that did not involve any pressure against a student (the other man was an outsider). It was only after his tragic death that a local court ordered action against the six individuals implicated.

In the light of this and other instances of anti-gay attitudes and action, we demand:
•    Protection against unfair dismissal, discriminatory recruitment or failure to promote.
•    Protection against harassment on grounds of sexual orientation.

We also argue that the campaign against gays has wider implications, including holding them responsible for AIDS, and rejecting the right of the oppressed, including the sexually oppressed, to openly organize. In this context we demand:

•    Decriminalization and legalization of same sex relationships.
•    Against stigma, discrimination and isolation
•    For the right of oppressed groups to organize autonomously
•    For free and effective health care, particularly in cases of AIDS.
•    Against the super-profits of international pharmaceutical companies.