WBHRC asks for inquiry into `inhuman torture` on Pinki

Kolkata: The West Bengal Human Rights Commission has directed the home, health and police departments to inquire into the alleged `inhuman torture` on Asiad gold medalist Pinki Pramanik in police and jail custody and submit a report within two weeks.

"One complaint has been submitted alleging inhuman torture both in jail and police custody to Pinki Pramanik," WBHRC chairman Justice Ashok Kumar Ganguly, members Justice N C Sil and S N Roy said in a letter on Tuesday to the three departments.

"The Commission is seriously concerned and directs the principal secretary (health) for an inquiry into the matter and send the report within two weeks," the letter said.

The WBHRC also gave the same direction to principal secretary (home) who is incharge of the jail department and the director general of police.

"Prima facie, it`s a case of human rights violation. We are awaiting the reports," Justice Ganguly told a news agency.

The treatment meted out to the athlete has attracted criticism from the sporting fraternity as well.

"It`s a shame. I feel sad for Pinki who has earned laurels for the country. It`s a case of sexual harrassment. I urge the human rights authorities to step in," two-time Olympian Saraswati Saha-Dey, who won 200m gold at the Busan Asian Games said.

"Male police officers have been escorting her and at times dragging her out from police vans. This is absolutely deplorable," former national women`s swimming champion Bula Chowdhury said.

"She may be charged for a particular crime, but why is she being subjected to this harassment?" Arjuna Awardee Shanti Mullick asked.

The retired middle distance runner was arrested on June 14 and has been accused of allegedly raping a live-in partner, a 30-year-old estranged woman.

She is currently in judicial custody till July 12.

Pinki, after her arrest, was initially taken to a private nursing home in Barasat under police custody and later to the Barasat General Hospital for gender tests.

Pinki was subsequently sent to the SSKM Hospital where the gender of the athlete could not be determined as the facility for the chromosome pattern test was unavailable.

The athlete`s blood sample was taken yesterday at the SSKM Hospital and sent for tests.
An MMS clip was also reportedly in circulation showing the athelete in the nude.

The Eastern Railway middle-distance runner had won a 4x400m relay gold in the 2006 Doha Asiad and a silver in the same event at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

Pinki bagged three gold medals in the 2006 SAF Games in Colombo when she won the 400m, 800m and 4x400m relay events.