Kolkata: Human rights activists are now demanding justice for athlete Pinki Pramanik who has been charged with rape and is undergoing gender determination tests in Kolkata. The protesters blame government's insensitivity in handling the case, questioning how an MMS of Pinki undergoing a gender determination test went viral in the first place.
Pramanik is in jail on charges of raping a woman. But the middle distance runner who won a gold medal for India in the Asian games is now an object of sexual ridicule, allegedly because of government insensitivity.
Pinki has ambiguous gender traits and, in keeping with a court order, has repeatedly appeared before medical boards in government hospitals for gender verification tests. While the results are awaited, an MMS of her presumably recorded during one of the test sessions has gone viral.
"Pinki is in government custody for the last 15 or 20 days. Then how is it possible that such an MMS comes out? It is the government's responsibility to protect her honour," said human rights activist Ranjit Sur.
And then there's pictorial evidence of policemen almost groping Pinki while escorting her to hospitals and courtrooms. Acting on complaints lodged by human rights activists in Kolkata, the state human rights commission has directed the government to conduct a probe and submit report within a week.
"If I had the means and resources, I would have snatched away Pinki by force. But I can't do that. I am shattered by the way the lawkeepers are treating her," said Joychand Pramanik, brother of Pinki Pramanik.
"I did, when I spoke to her, got to know that the fact that she is being taken to the medical board again and again and again. That's something that's disturbing her. Apart from that she is an amazingly strong person," said Payosni Mitra, researcher, Gender and Sports.
Even before Pramanik has been found guilty of the crimes she has been accused of, government callousness has caused the medal-winning athlete deep social humiliation.
Irrespective of her alleged crimes, the government needs to answer how it can compensate its failure to protect the outrage of modesty of an athlete who once made the nation proud.