x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

I've been framed, says female athlete accused of rape (and of being a man)

Pinki Pramanik, a female athlete who won a 4x400-metre relay gold medal at the 2006 Asian Games, was arrested late on Thursday after her partner accused her of repeated rape and of being a man.

Police escort former Indian athlete Pinki Pramanik to the Barasat District court in near Kolkata. She appeared in court charged with raping her former lover who has alleged that she is actually a man.
Police escort former Indian athlete Pinki Pramanik to the Barasat District court in near Kolkata. She appeared in court charged with raping her former lover who has alleged that she is actually a man.

KOLKATA, INDIA // A female Indian athlete who has been charged with raping her live-in partner and accused of being a man was denied bail yesterday.

Pinki Pramanik, 26, who won a 4x400-metre relay gold medal at the 2006 Asian Games, was ordered to be held in judicial custody for 14 days by a West Bengal court.

"Pramanik has been kept in a separate cell as her gender is disputed and yet to be determined through a medical test at a government hospital," the public prosecutor Bikas Dey said.

She was arrested late on Thursday after her partner accused her of repeated rape and of being a man, while police said that Ms Pramanik had refused to take a medical examination at a government hospital.

She again declined to go for the test yesterday.

"We are trying to convince Pramanik for the test," her lawyer, Madhav Sanyal, said.

Ms Pramanik told the Times of India that she had taken several gender tests as an athlete and she would not take them again.

"Why should I agree to more ridiculous tests?" she asked.

"I have been framed," she told the Calcutta Telegraph. "The lady had asked for 300,000 rupees [Dh19,000] but I refused to give her the money."

The alleged victim also claimed that Ms Pramanik had promised to marry her.

Ms Pramanik was taken to a private nursing home on Thursday where the tests showed the athlete was a man.

"The reports conducted by us show that Pramanik is a male," said Subrata Mukherjee, of Uma Nursing Home where the test was conducted.

Police said that Ms Pramanik had lived with her partner in Kolkata for several months.

She grew up as the daughter of a poor farmer in rural West Bengal state and was employed as a ticket inspector on the railways before her athletics career took off.

Besides winning gold at the Asian Games, she also won a silver relay medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2006 but stopped competing the following year.

"We don't know whether it was a case of being male physically or hormonal change over a period of time, which can happen," the Athletics Federation of India secretary CK Valson said. "We have to wait for the medical report and conclusion of the case."

Gender controversies are often caused by Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH) when females have male physical characteristics, or Androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS), when someone is genetically male but their genitals may appear to be female.

* Agence France-Presse with additional reporting by IANS