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Love,sex change and dhokha in Srinagar

They met and fell in love. One was a 40-year-old tourist from Germany,the other a 25-year-old man from Srinagar’s posh Nishat neighbourhood....

Written by Muzamil Jaleel | Srinagar |
June 20, 2010 4:12:53 am

They met and fell in love. One was a 40-year-old tourist from Germany,the other a 25-year-old man from Srinagar’s posh Nishat neighbourhood. They spent time together and the tourist underwent a sex-change operation to become a woman. There was a promise to be together for life.  

The tourist transferred money,Rs 15 lakh in three years, to help the Kashmiri boyfriend construct his house,buy a Mitsubishi Lancer and start a travel agency.

But then the story took a turn. On June 15,the tourist,accompanied by two lawyers,arrived at the Nishat Police Station with a complaint that “she” was duped of Rs15 lakh,sexually exploited in the name of love and the promise of marriage.

Though the tourist didn’t mention it in the complaint,the policemen were in a fix once they learnt that she had been a man till recently. “Once we were told about the sex-change operation,we consulted our seniors. We have never come across such a case here,” said an officer.

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The police told her that she needed to undergo a medical examination for them to proceed with her charge of rape but she declined. The police,however,have filed a case of cheating and rape against the boyfriend.

The tourist identified herself as Sarwait Patarachokchai,daughter of Manite Patarachokchai. Sarwait was born as a boy in Thailand but now lives in Berlin,Germany. Sarwat told the police that she was enthralled by the beauty of Kashmir’s landscape and came for a vacation in March 2007. “I was staying in a houseboat owned by Aslam Bangola near Nehru Park. He took me to Shaw Art palace at Dalgate and while we drove back towards Lalchowk,he introduced me to a young man,Mohsin Shah,” Sarwait told the police. “We became close and fell in love.”

The details of their courtship are,in fact,spread over several pages of the complaint together with the details of the money transferred to Shah’s account . In fact,Sarwait has produced receipts of each transaction,most through Western Union.  “Mohsin promised me that he loved me and would marry me. I kept sending money—he wanted money for the construction of his house,for a car. He told me that he lost his job because the owner disapproved of our relationship and asked for money to start his own travel agency. I kept giving him money,” Sarwait told the police.   Finally,Shah started avoiding her and stopped taking her calls. “On May 13,Mohsin started avoiding me on the phone. This is when I thought something was wrong,” Sarwait told the police. “On May 25,he (Shah) called me saying he was calling from Chennai. I checked the number and it was a Dubai number. This confirmed my suspicion that he had duped me and exploited me. He (Mohsin) has ruined my life”.

Sarwait told the police that she went to Dubai looking for him but couldn’t find him. She then came to Srinagar went to his house in Nishat. “His (Shah’s) family too gave me a very cold response,” Sarwait told the police.

Senior Superintendent of Police,Srinagar,Javaid Riyaz told The Indian Express that the police have initiated a probe into the case. “The duping issue is easier especially as the tourist has all the receipts of transactions. The man (Shah),however,is away in Dubai,” he said. “Regarding the sexual exploitation,we had asked her to undergo a medical test which would have helped us to move ahead.  Medical test is voluntary. And as we were told that there has been a sex-change operation,it has added another dimension to the case.”

The Shah family is tight-lipped and the police say they are trying to get in touch with Shah to get his side of the story. Police sources say Shah is now engaged to a girl from a rich Srinagar family and the girl’s relatives have approached them to find out about the case.

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