The journalist, whose sting operation on a homosexual university professor led to the latter’s suicide and the acclaimed film “Aligarh”, remains unapologetic, saying the movie distorts the truth.
Prof Shriniwas Ramchandra Siras killed himself a couple of months after Adil Murtuza and two other local journalists caught him having sex with a rickshaw-puller at his home on the Aligarh Muslim University campus in February 2010. The tragic event, seen as underscoring widespread homophobia in a largely conservative country, inspired “Aligarh”, directed by Hansal Mehtra and starring Manoj Bajpai which has received rave reviews but shunned by exhibitors in the city it is named after for fear of vandalism.
“The story is far from the truth. Facts aren’t what are shown, the truth is very different,” insisted Murtuza.
A former local news reporter who has since moved to Lucknow to join an entertainment channel, Murtuza is upset with the portrayal of his character in the film. He insisted that the deceased professor used to blackmail the rickshaw-puller into having sex, using a mix of both threats and money.
“The film shows the rickshaw-puller having consensual sex; it is utterly wrong,” Murtuza said.
He also disputes the celluloid depiction of him assaulting the professor. “Nothing as such happened; it is utterly rubbish,” he said.
Sixty two-year-old Siras, a reader in the department of Modern Indian Languages at AMU, was found dead in his rented room outside the campus. He had been placed under suspension by AMU vice chancellor PK Abdul Aziz on charges of homosexuality at his house on the campus.
The Allahabad high court later revoked the suspension and ordered his reinstatement after he filed an appeal.
Murtuza and another journalist Siraj were arrested on charges of blackmailing, criminal intimidation, breach of privacy and trespassing private property with criminal intention. The cases against the two are still pending before a local court.
The rickshaw puller is also facing trial, on charges of indulging in paid sex. He has also relocated to Lucknow since the sting caused an outcry.