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Calcutta high court drops rape charge against intersex Indian athlete Pinki Pramanik

Calcutta high court drops rape charge against intersex Indian athlete Pinki Pramanik

The Calcutta High Court on Friday exonerated Asian Games gold medalist Pinki Pramanik of charges of rape, assault and cheating by her female live-in partner.

Justice Subrata Talukdar on Friday ordered that all charges against Prinki be quashed and the charge sheet against her also be dropped.

The 28-year-old athlete was charged under sections 376 (rape), 417 (impersonation), 420 (cheating), 325 (assault) and 506 (intimidation), 493 (cohabitation caused by a man deceitfully inducing a belief of a lawful marriage), according to local news reports.

Pinki was accused by her then live-in partner Anamika Acharya of being a male who had raped her. She was arrested on June 14, 2012 and an order for medical examination to confirm the gender was issued.

Pinki competed as a female track athlete and won gold at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar for a 4×400 m relay; and three gold medals at the 2006 South Asian Games in Colombo, Sri Lanka winning the 400 and 800 m events, as well as the relay.

According to local news reports, Pinki was accused by the woman of not marrying her despite promising to do so and having physical relationship.

Lawyers Collective, a public interest legal service provider in India, said Pinki was mistreated by the police as a ‘male’, handled by male police personnel and kept in a male cell in the prison for 26 days. She was subjected to repeated and intrusive medical examinations to determine her ‘sex’, thereby causing her immense trauma and humiliation.

The medical examination revealed that Pinki has an intersex variation and was incapable of penile penetration.

Pinki’s counsel Kaushik Gupta submitted before Justice Talukdar that medical examination conducted on her proved that she was a woman, and since under Indian law only a man can be accused of rape, charges against his client should be dropped.

Pinki’s gross mistreatment by the authorities was also highlighted in an open letter about human rights abuses of intersex people worldwide to Navanethem Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, at the 2nd International Intersex Forum of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) and its European Region (ILGA-Europe) in 2012.