The Calcutta High Court on Friday directed the West Bengal government to submit an affidavit within two weeks in response to a petition on the issue of athlete Pinki Pramanik’s mistreatment by the police. Pramanik’s gender has come into question following allegations of rape against her.
A Division Bench comprising Justices J. N. Patel and Justice Sambuddha Chakrabarti heard the matter. The court has also directed the State to produce the case diary on the day of next hearing.
The petition was filed against the harassment and humiliation that Ms. Pramanik has been subjected to since her arrest.
Bharati Mutsuddi, a former member of the West Bengal Women’s Commission who appeared on behalf of the petitioners, said Ms. Pramanik was “publicly humiliated” and was “suffering immensely” because of the manner in which investigations were being carried out.
“She has been kept in a men’s prison and was escorted by male policemen,” Ms. Mutsuddi said.
Ms. Mutsuddi also raised the issue of a multimedia messaging service (MMS) clip that appears to have been taken during one of the gender tests conducted on Ms. Pramanik.
The court has said the petitioners were free to lodge a complaint with the police against the circulation of the MMS, which has gone viral on the Internet.
Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition in the West Bengal Assembly Surya Kanta Mishra said he had tried to raise the issue in the House, but was not allowed to do so as the matter was sub judice.
“The police and the administration were very prompt in arresting Pinki, whose sex is yet to be determined. But the way she has been treated is definitely a violation of human rights and several organisations are protesting this,” Dr. Mishra told journalists.
During the day, nearly 25 sportspersons organised a protest at the Calcutta Sports Journalists Club.
“We, as sportspersons, feel humiliated that way police are maltreating her and the administration is keeping quiet,” said Bula Chowdhury, a swimmer of international repute.
“It is disgraceful that in a State where a woman is the Chief Minister, a woman is being subjected to such torture merely on the basis of a suspicion,” said Jyotirmoyee Sikdar, an Asian Games gold medallist and a former Member of Parliament.
“In the 2006 Doha Asian Games where athlete Santhi Soundarajan was stripped of her medal because she failed the gender test, nothing was said about Pinki, who had won the gold in the same tournament,” she said.