Model fires torture charge at pageant - 18-yr-old moves National Human Rights Commission for justice

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  • Published 25.08.10
Ipsita Pati at the Mahila police station in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday. Picture by Sanjib Mukherjee

Bhubaneswar, Aug. 24: Aspiring Oriya model Ipsita Pati today moved the National Human Rights Commission alleging that she was subjected to physical and mental harassment during the ‘I am She Miss India Universe’ beauty pageant.

On June 9, Pati had filed an FIR at the Mahila police station here accusing the pageant authorities of adopting a biased selection procedure and intentionally removing her from the list of finalists.

According to the 5’9” Pati, on April 24, the day she entered the competition, she weighed 53kg. However, during the grooming period — that required participants to undergo an intense training procedure including ramp walk, diet control, photo shoots and training — her weight allegedly came down to 45 kg.

“The dietician’s prescription was horrible,” the 18-year-old said. “I suffered from weakness and was in hospital several times. But they never let me speak to my family,” Ipsita said.

Sixty participants were shortlisted from the 10,200 entrants for the semi-finals. From the 60, only 30 were shortlisted for the finals. Ipsita claimed that she was among the 30 finalists but the organisers dropped her at the last minute for being “underweight”. A girl from Bengal was picked to replace her.

On June 11, chairperson of the State Commission for Women, Jyoti Panigrahi, assured Ipsita to take up her case with her counterpart in Maharashtra. But nothing happened thereafter.

“The Commissionerate Police has transferred the case from Bhubaneswar mahila police station to Bandra police station in Mumbai,” assistant commissioner of police Nihar Das said. Pati had even met chief minister Naveen Patnaik and sought the state government’s intervention. The chief minister, however, asked her to take legal recourse.

The organisers could not be reached for comment.