MOVIE "ALIGARH" REVEALS IDENTITY OF PROFESSORS GAY PARTNER WITHOUT PERMISSION
NEW DELHI: After the threat of a ban by the BJP mayor and fringe Muslim groups, ‘Aligarh’ the film based on the homosexual relationship of Aligarh Muslim University’s Professor Srinivas Ramchandra Siras, faces another hurdle. It has revealed the identity of the alleged partner of the deceased professor without taking his permission and endangered his security.
A rickshaw-puller, Mohsin (name changed), has said that he has been getting threatening calls and his life is in danger since his true identity is revealed in the movie.
He said that, earlier, there were only a few people who were aware of the fact that it was he who was the partner of the persecuted Professor but now after the movie many more have come to know his identity and this has created a lot of trouble for him .
Speaking to The Hindu, he said, “This is not something welcome. I have not watched the movie but those who did, told me that my actual name has been used in the movie. They have also disclosed the name of the place where I stay in Aligarh… In a sense, my life has been endangered because now people know my real name and the place where I stay. Of course that makes me scared for my life.”
Ramchandra Siras was a Professor of Marathi at AMU and was suspended from the University when he was caught having sex with a younger man (the rickshaw puller). The suspension order was later reversed by Allahabad High Court in 2010, in the wake of the 2009 Delhi High Court judgment legitimizing same sex relations. The judgment was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2013, again criminalizing the homosexual acts. However, the much persecuted and defamed Professor ended his life in April 2010, committing suicide in his house by consuming poison, which, as it happens, became the script of the movie now at the centre of a discussion on homosexuality.
Although, the director of the movie Hansal Mehta has said that the movie is based on facts and if anyone has any grievances he/she can contact the production team, but, the disclosure of the identity of the gay partner in the movie can be a grave issue for the man, since homosexuality is still a crime according to law of the land.
Aakriti Kohli, a Professor at Delhi University and a documentary film maker said, “In terms of ethics, disclosing the identity is not right at all since same sex relationship is still a crime and doing so will expose the man to the crude justice of vigilante groups and further witch-hunting. Even if the facts are in the public domain it is imperative that an ‘informed consent’ is sought from the person who may stand to lose in case his identity is revealed. Like what the Guardian followed when it wrote an article on the December 16 gang rape, it sought the consent of the parents of the victim on whether they can disclose her real name in the movie. Consent is paramount.”
The same is expressed by Mohsin as he said to the newspaper, “It is as much my story as Prof. Siras’. And then they used my name and my identity but they did not take my permission.”
The movie, after initial hiccups, is being shown in cinema halls in Aligarh.