India: Court drops all charges against female athlete accused of being male
A female athlete who was arrested after she was accused of being male has had all charges against her dropped.
Track runner Pinki Pramanik, who took home a Silver medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, was arrested in 2012 after Anamika Acharya, who claimed to be the athlete’s female partner, alleged that the athlete was actually male.
Ms Pramanik was held by police in a men’s prison for 26 days, and forced to undergo chromosome ‘tests’ to determine her gender, despite international medical practitioners maintaining that chromosomes do not always accurately reflect sex or gender identity.
The ‘tests’ found her to have male chromosome patterns – despite being born and raised as female – and Ms Pramanik faced a number of charges, including impersonation, rape and assault.
However, following a court battle which went as far as the Calcutta High Court, Justice Subrata Talukdar ordered on Friday that all charges be quashed, and that her charge sheet be dropped entirely.
Ms Pramanik, who now works at a railway station, maintains she has always been female, adding: “I have suffered terrible mental torture for over two years. Even now, when I am on duty at Sealdah station, people pass comments.
“With today’s order, I hope all that will end.”
She added: “The girl who brought these allegations was not my partner and we were not in love. She had been blackmailing me for some time.”
Gender expert Payoshni Mitra said: “I am very happy the court has quashed the charges against Pinki.
“It is high time there was greater awareness of gender variations and greater sensitivity in handling them.”