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Tests hint at third gender

- Bail for Pinki after 25 days in custody

Athlete Pinki Pramanik’s medical report says she is genetically male but anatomically not, bearing both male and female characteristics.

Doctors associated with the tests conducted on the Asian Games gold medallist called her condition “male pseudohermaphroditism” — in which genetic males develop female configurations and identities.

Pinki, arrested after a woman brought charges of rape against her, obtained bail on Monday from the district sessions court in Barasat.

The medical report, sealed in an envelope, was submitted to the chief judicial magistrate’s court.

The biotechnology department of West Bengal University of Technology, Salt Lake, had conducted her karyotype test, which looked at the structure, number and arrangement of chromosomes found in a sample of cells. Samples of Pinki’s blood had been collected by a medical board at SSKM Hospital on two occasions in the past few weeks.

“The test has revealed that Pinki has a 46XY chromosome,” said an official at SSKM. Females have two of the same kind of sex chromosome (XX) while males have two distinct sex chromosomes (XY).

Male pseudohermaphroditism is rare and almost always results from genetic defects inherited from both parents in order to be expressed.

“The report shows her chromosome pattern may be male but anatomically she has both female and male organs, some of which are incomplete,” a member of SSKM’s medical board told Metro.

The karyotyping confirms the genotype but her physical attributes are of equal importance in this case, felt Gautam Khastgir, who specialises in reproductive medicine. “A male genotype need not mean a man as an ordinary person understands it. Psychologically their desires may be male, but that may not be borne out physically,” he pointed out.

At least one expert said that in such complicated cases, a second karyotyping should be done. “Another chromosome pattern test should be conducted to find out if there is a hidden female cell line,” said Bani Ganguly, head of genetics at Mahatma Gandhi Mission Medical College and Hospital, Mumbai.

“Ideally, the tests should be done at some advanced laboratory,” said another expert.

More than sophisticated equipment, karyotyping requires expert chromosome analysts who can properly interpret what they see through the microscope.

SSKM officials said they frequently sought the Bengal technology university’s help for such tests.

“We often send samples there as the costs are low,” said a doctor. A university official said they charge “no more than Rs 500” for a karyotype test. “Often, we conduct the tests free,” said an official of the university.

The 27-year-old athlete had been arrested on June 14 from her Chinar Park home, close to City Centre II (Rajarhat), after the 30-year-old woman she had been living with for the past three years alleged that Pinki was a man and accused her of rape, assault, impersonation and intimidation.

“The woman has been living with Pinki for the past three years. Hence she could not have been forcibly raped. Moreover, since her gender is not proved yet and, according to the law, only a man can rape a woman, she can be allowed bail,” sessions judge Nirmal Ghoshal said in the order.

“The investigation process has come to an end and… Pinki can be trusted not to abscond,” Ghoshal added.

Pinki, housed in a segregated cell in Dum Dum Central jail since June 15, will walk free on Wednesday.

Do you agree with Rituparno’s views on Pinki? Tell ttmetro@abpmail.com