A female Indian athlete who has been charged with raping her live-in partner has defended herself against claims that she is actually a man.
Pinki Pramanik, who won a 4x400m relay gold medal at the 2006 Asian Games, was arrested late on Thursday and taken to Baguiatipolice station in the northwest of Kolkata.
Her partner accused her of repeated rape and of being male, while police said that Pramanik had refused to take a medical examination at a government hospital.
“I have undergone numerous tests in my career as an athlete,” Pramanik, who retired in 2007, was quoted as saying in the Times of India on Friday. “Why should I agree to more ridiculous tests?”
“I have been framed,” she told the Calcutta Telegraph. “The lady had asked for 300,000 rupees ($5,400) but I refused to give her the money.”
The Telegraph also quoted the alleged victim as saying, “Pinki poses as a woman but is actually a man… She would assault me regularly and raped me several times.”
She also claimed that Pramanik had promised to marry her.
Prabir Roy, the duty officer at the Baguiati police station, told AFP that Pramanik was remanded in custody on rape charges and would appear in court later on Friday.
“She was arrested and taken to a government-run hospital, but she refused to sit for a medical test,” Roy said. “A woman had lodged a complaint of rape with the police station.”
Police said that Pramanik had lived with her partner in Kolkata for several months.
Pramanik, 26, also won a silver relay medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2006 and stopped competing the following year.
She grew up as the daughter of a poor farmer in rural West Bengal state, about 140 miles (220 kilometres) from Kolkata and was employed as a ticket inspector on the railways before her athletics career took off.
“We have to wait for the medical report and conclusion of the case,” Athletics Federation of Indiasecretary C.K. Valson told the Press Trust of India news agency.
In 2006, Indian athlete Santhi Soundarajan failed a gender test and was stripped of the silver medal she won in the women’s 800m at the Asian Games in Doha.
Santhi insisted along with her parents and coaches that she had done nothing wrong.
Gender controversies are often caused by Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH) when females have male physical characteristics or Androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS), when someone is genetically male but their genitals may appear to be female.
South African athlete Caster Semenya won the women’s 800m world championships in 2009 but was then sidelined for 11 months during a probe into her gender.
She was cleared to compete and is a gold medal prospect at the London Olympics.