Law, ethics breached as alleged tape of medical exam circulates on net
The ordeal of international athlete Pinki Pramanik has worsened with a multimedia messaging service (MMS) clip, apparently recorded during one of the several rounds of medical testing conducted on her, going viral on the Internet since Monday. Questions about her gender came to the fore following allegations of rape levelled against her by a woman. The clip apparently shows her undergoing tests at a nursing home.
“I’ve heard about the video clip, though I’ve not seen it. Those responsible must be immediately arrested for such dreadful behaviour. But at the moment Ms. Pramanik is in judicial custody and she cannot file a police complaint on this matter,” Tuhin Roy, Ms. Pramanik’s counsel, told The Hindu on Tuesday.
Mr. Roy said he would mention the matter in court during the next hearing.
The young athlete has already undergone several rounds of medical examination, yet the last word on the question of her gender has not come. This has attracted severe criticism from sportspersons and members of civil society.
“She may be charged for a particular crime, but why is she being subjected to this harassment? She is being pushed from one place to another and being treated as an object of curiosity as if she is a tiger in a zoo,” said Shanti Mullick, a footballer who is a recipient of the Arjuna Award.
Ms. Mullick said the manner in which Ms. Pramanik is being treated “is a matter of shame and insult to all sportspersons around the world.” She added that a demonstration would be organised later this week.
Rita Sen, an international athlete herself, pointed out that all athletes undergo medical tests, particularly those who have won medals at important tournaments.
She said she had heard a lot of “uninformed opinion” on the matter doing the rounds. “I hear the radio every morning and the offhand manner in which some of the comments are passed is reprehensible. This is no laughing matter.”
Activists of the Association for the Protection of Democratic Rights, a civil rights group, have approached the West Bengal Human Rights Commission over the “gender-insensitive behaviour” of the police and the administration. “For nearly three weeks, Ms. Pramanik has been in judicial custody. Therefore, the entire responsibility of this MMS clip having been created rests with the administration,” said Ranajit Sur, a member of the secretariat of APDR.
The activists asked the Commission to inquire into the incident and demanded “exemplary punishment” for any offenders.
On Monday, Ms Pramanik’s blood samples were collected for chromosomal pattern tests. A Kolkata court has declined her plea for bail.
The Eastern Railway middle-distance runner won a 4x400m relay gold in the 2006 Doha Asiad and a silver in the same event at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games. She bagged three gold medals in the 2006 SAF Games in Colombo ,in the 400m, 800m and 4x400m relay events. The Railways have placed her under suspension after the accusations came up.