Gender bender: Asian champion Pramanik charged with ‘rape’https://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/print/gender-bender-asian-champion-pramanik-charged-with-rape/

Gender bender: Asian champion Pramanik charged with ‘rape’

As one of India’s top woman athletes,Pinki brought much fame and glory to the country

As one of India’s top woman athletes,quarter-miler Pinki Pramanik brought much fame and glory to the country. On Thursday,Pramanik’s gender and her womanhood was questioned,casting a shadow on her achievements on track and shattering her reputation off the field. Pramanik has been alleged to be a man who ‘raped’ a woman who was living with the athlete for the past several months. Based on the allegation,police arrested Pramanik.

“We arrested Pramanik this morning after a woman lodged a complaint of rape,stating the athlete was a male and they were living together for the past several months. Pramanik also promised to marry her but later denied,” Subrata Bandyopadhyay,deputy commissioner of the Bidhannager commissionerate,where the complaint was lodged,told The Indian Express.

“We have approached the court seeking permission for medical tests to determine the gender of the athlete and the same has been granted. The test will be conducted at the Barasat sub-divisional hospital shortly,” Bandyopadhyay added.

Pramanik was taken to a private nursing home where reports showed that the athlete was a male. Pramanik,however,refused to undergo tests at government hospital,saying she was an athlete who took part in major international events,where medical tests to determine her gender were done. “It’s a clear case of conspiracy,” she said. Police have decided to take her to a city hospital as district hospitals don’t have the infrastructure and equipment to conduct such tests. Until then,Pramanik would be remanded in custody.

Previous controversies

Advertising

A few years ago,she was found carrying an unregistered weapon at the Habibpur railway station and arrested under the Arms Act when local purse snatchers informed the police that a revolver had been found amongst her personal items. Two years back,she met with a car accident in Purulia which eventually prompted her to retire from international athletics.

A ticket collector with Indian Railways,the latest allegation about the 26-year-old has divided the sporting fraternity. “We travelled together to Doha for the Asian Games. She was polite and well behaved and I never suspected anything. There are lots of female athletes who have masculine features. Without medical tests it would be impossible for anyone to say anything,” athlete Hari Shankar Roy said.

Veteran coach and Dronacharya awardee Kuntal Roy,however,claims he had doubts from the beginning. “I never coached her but always had my doubts. In fact,it’s a surprise to me that no one had raised a question in international events,” Roy said.

An AFI official said Pramanik would be stripped of her medals if it was proved the athlete was a male.

Two sides of the story

* Pinki Pramanik won her first international gold at the 2005 Asian Indoor Championships in the 4×400m relay.

* She also won silver in the 4x400m at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

* She also won gold in the 4x400m event at the 2006 Asian Games.

I didn’t speak with Pinki too much after she retired from athletics some four years ago. During our time in the national camp,I remember her as extremely hardworking and focused on the sport. She was like any other athlete in the camp.

Rajwinder Kaur,former team mate

I never coached her. But I always had my doubts. In fact,it’s a surprise to me that no one had raised a question in international events.

Kuntal Roy,athletics coach

Advertising

“Gender tests are not mandatory. They are done only if somebody complains or if it is suspected by officials. It’s a complicated procedure with a panel including a gynaecologist,endocrinologist and a psychologist to determine gender.

Dr PSM Chandran,former SAI director of medicine