“We cannot allow the campus to be a cradle of wanton behaviour like homosexuality,” declared P K Abdul Azis, vice-chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, defending the recent suspension of a professor for being gay.
When told that homosexuality is no longer unlawful in India, he responded with a question: “Would anybody like his/her child to be gay or lesbian?”
On February 10, S R Siras, an AMU professor, was suspended for performing alleged homosexual acts in his official residence, although rights activists pointed out that gay sex was no longer a crime.
The university asked Siras, who headed the department of modern Indian languages, to vacate his official residence.
“I am 64 and in fragile health. The charge of active homosexuality levelled against me is absurd,” Siras said. “When the high court has decriminalised homosexuality, how can the university level such a charge?”
The suspension order against Siras, who was due to retire this year, came seven months after Delhi HC decriminalised adult consensual intercourse.
But Azis said since AMU has its own tradition of moral values, “I had to take preliminary action. Or, it would have sent a very wrong message.”
He said Siras’ alleged homosexuality could not be termed a private affair as the act was committed in the house allotted to him inside the campus.