Kolkata: It was a huge victory on Friday at the Calcutta High Court for the Asian Games gold medallist athlete Pinki Pramanik who had been accused of raping another woman. The incident, in 2012, had triggered a huge debate about whether Pinki had won her medals under unfair conditions. She was tested for gender verification six times. But the Calcutta High Court quashed all charges against Pinki.
"I am very relieved," said Pinki Pramanik who works with Indian Railways.
"I have suffered terrible mental torture for over two years. Even now, when I am on duty at Sealdah station, people pass comments. With today's order, I hope all that will end."
In June 2012, a woman who had "sheltered" with her daughter in Pinki's Kolkata home accused the athlete of rape and cheating, among other charges. Pinki was arrested, forced to undergo sex verification tests without her permission or court orders and finally jailed for 25 days.
Pinki got bail and the trial was to begin in a lower court. But that's when Pinki, with the support of lawyers and gender activists, appealed to Calcutta High Court in 2013 for charges against her to be dropped.
Anand Grover, Supreme Court lawyer, and Kaushik Gupta of Kolkata argued Pinki's case in the High Court. Payoshni Mitra, who is an expert on gender issues in sport, pursued the matter.
"I am very happy the court has quashed the charges against Pinki," said Payoshni.
"It is high time there was greater awareness of gender variations and greater sensitivity in handling them."
On Friday, Justice Subrata Talukdar ordered that all charges framed against Prinki be quashed and charge sheet has also been quashed
Pinki Pramanik has the option of seeking the prosecution of the woman who falsely accused her and the police who gender tested her without her consent or court order.
"I would be very happy if they were punished," she said.
"I will decide on pursuing the matter against them in the coming days."