August 21, 2012
By Rupa Aich (Source : ShramikShakti)
About one month back, Anamika Acharya, the lady living with Pinki Pramanik, complained that Pinki was actually a male posing as a female and had been raping her for three months.
Pinki has become quite the object of focus in popular culture thereafter. We followed Pinki’s story with avid interest and curiosity from the daily reports in the newspapers and TV, which turned her into an object of ridicule. We tend to forget Pinki’s troubles based on one complaint, starting from police and judicial harassment and nude pictures of her, to insults and humiliating remarks from a section of the society.
The continuous cruelty faced by Pinki Pramanik has forced various groups, national and state human rights commission and current and past players, to stand by her side. Pinki is not only a citizen of our country; she is also an acclaimed athlete who earned gold and silver medals in national and international events. The nature of the complaint against her is exceptional. This is the first time that a woman has complained about rape against a female athlete. So the police should have been much more sensitive keeping in mind the nature of complaint and the stature of the accused.
Pinki Pramanik has been identified as a man and placed next to the male inmates’ cell. The way she has been surrounded by male police guards and sexually harassed in the name of investigation is nothing but sheer torture and injustice meted out by the administration. She has been ferried from hospital to hospital in the name gender determination; her pictures during the doctor’s exam have been leaked and have gone viral in the media. Finally after almost 26 grueling days of a long investigation, it was finally been revealed that physically she is bisexual but mentally she is a female. It had already been proved earlier she had undeveloped male organ which ruled out rape. Some of the gender determination routines had to be outsourced to different states due to lack of facilities in West Bengal, thereby delaying the investigation process further. This added to the insults and harassment faced by her, and the entire case has painted a clear picture of the offensive mentality of the police towards women.
Although protests have poured in from different places, there has been no reaction from our chief of state cum chief of administration and her ministers. One might remember the Chief Minister’s taunting remarks last year regarding several raped victims, which is a reflection of her conservative and appalling attitude towards suffering of women and women in general. Hence her absence of reaction where Pinki is concerned does not surprise us anymore.
Recently attention is being diverted from Pinki’s harassment by linking her name to a land scam. The complainant, Anamika Acharya, now claims that she was told by ex-sportsperson Avtar Singh to frame Pinki. Avtar Singh got an inkling about Anamika’s conflict with Pinki and in order to grab Pinki’s land, Avtar Singh planned all the incidents by making Anamika take nude shots of Pinki and blackmailing her and subsequently reporting her to the police. Anamika has not only confessed to these revealing facts, but also produced audio recordings between her and Avtar Singh as evidence. So its clear now that the allegation against Pinki is false and deliberate and the case is going to take a different turn.
Let us analyze the events so far. Some new subjects have come up in relation to gender determination of Pinki. Does the person’s gender reveal his/her identity? Secondly, we have seen that society comprises of not only men and women but also of people belonging to the alternate gender. But they are termed ‘Hizra’ and are marginalized in society. They don’t get any recognition and respect from society, nor do they get any opportunity for education, voting rights and right to work. Hence they are forced to live an unbearable and disrespectful life in poverty. But they don’t have any role to play in their gender determination as they are born that way. Why should they be forced to live such disrespectful, dark life facing harassment, poverty and hunger in every step? Why cannot they have their own identity and lead a respectful, normal life in a healthy atmosphere having civil rights just like other men and women in society?
Pinki Pramanik is not the only victim in this tragedy. We have recently learnt about football player, Bandana Pal, from the newspaper Anandabazar Patrika. We came to know how she faced similar harassment and insults, and has been forced to live a painful life. Sportspersons from different corners of the country have complained of similar harassment. It is time to recognize that there are indeed many people who do not belong to the gender classifications of male and female. These people are part of our society and along with belonging to the alternate gender, they are human beings just like us. It is not right that just because they belong to an alternate gender, they will not get any recognition and due respect from the society.
(Translated from Bengali by Koel Das)