NEW DELHI: A female Indian athlete accused of being a man and raping her housemate has blamed testosterone injections for making her more masculine, according to a magazine interview published on Monday.
Pinki Pramanik, 26, was arrested last month on charges of rape and forced to undergo a gender test following accusations from a woman who lived in her flat that she was actually a male.
The athlete, who retired in 2007 after winning a team gold in the 4x400m relay at the 2006 Asian Games, told Outlook magazine that jabs given to her during training made her grow more hair and deepened her voice.
“I look more male now because, as part of my training to compete in international athletics, I used to be regularly administered testosterone injections,” Pramanik said. “It was called Russian medicine. I was told that it was necessary to take these and I never questioned whether these were legal or not.”Pramanik, who is on bail awaiting trial for rape, denied that her accuser was a former lover saying that “she was not my partner and we were not in love”.
“The girl who brought these allegations had taken nude photographs of me and was threatening to make them public,” Pramanik said. “She had been blackmailing me for some time (and) she had also been stealing from me.”
Pramanik, who now works on the Indian railways, also said she had been badly treated by police while in custody and that she had been tricked into submitting to a medical examination.
“I did not want to undergo a gender test because it is humiliating. But they forcefully subjected me to it against my wishes,” she said in the interview at her home in Kolkata.
“I was taken to a hospital and given an injection to make me fall asleep. When I awoke, I found my hands and feet tied to the bed and all my clothes removed.”The results of the test has been delivered to the court but not made public.
Pramanik, who grew up as the daughter of a poor farmer in rural West Bengal, also won a silver in the 4x400m relay at the 2006 Commonwealth Games before she stopped competing the following year.
Her arrest and allegations over her gender caused a sensation in India, with rights' groups complaining her privacy had been invaded by the authorities and media in Kolkata.
“I am not male. I have always been female. As a child, I used to look very sweet,” she said, adding she now avoided leaving her apartment due to the scandal. Indian athletic authorities were not immediately available to respond to accusations about the injections.