Is Pinki Pramanik's detention illegal?

Arguing that the detention of Asiad gold medallist runner Pinki Pramanik for "rape" was illegal, a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed on Thursday before the Calcutta High Court seeking the athlete's release.

"Until proved otherwise, Pinki is a female and cannot be under judicial custody for rape. Her detention is illegal and we have filed a PIL seeking her release. The petition has been admitted by the bench of Chief Justice J.N. Patel and Justice Sambuddha Chakrabarti," R.S. Chattopadhyay, who filed the PIL, told IANS. The case will be heard Friday.

Chattopadhyay in his petition has also alleged violation of human rights of the athlete who brought laurels for the country by competing at international levels. "She has been an international level athlete winning accolades for the country. The way she has been treated by the police and kept under custody is serious violation of her human rights," he added.

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On Tuesday, the West Bengal Human Rights Commission, expressing serious concern, ordered a probe into the allegations of human rights of the athlete and sought a report within a week from the state police chief and the state home secretary. Pramanik has been accused of being a male and is currently under judicial custody for alleged rape. Pramanik was arrested June 14 the athlete's live-in partner, a divorcee and a mother of one, lodged a police complaint accusing Pramanik of being a man who has been repeatedly raping and torturing her. To add to her woes, an MMS clip showing her naked during a gender test went viral on the internet.

The treatment meted out to the athlete who has often been escorted by male police officers has attracted severe criticism from all quarters including the sporting fraternity.

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