After India's fastest woman Dutee Chand accused her eldest sister of threatening to send her to jail for being in a same-sex relationship, the sister in question, Saraswati Chand, has instead accused the sprinter's partner of "pressurising and blackmailing" Dutee for wealth and property.
"“With great sorrow, I have to say that the decision taken by Dutee is not of her own. She’s been pressurised and blackmailed into marriage by that girl and her family.All of this has been done to grab the property and wealth of Dutee.”" - Saraswati Chand to ANI
According to Saraswati, it is a ploy to sabotage Dutee’s career. She said her sister has been "led into a trap" to "deviate her from focus from the 2020 Olympics and World Championships.”
Unapologetic about her same-sex relationship with a younger relative, Dutee is facing a tough battle of acceptance within her family. But Saraswati clarified that the family had no problem with such kind of relationship.
"“She is an adult. It’s her decision whether she wants to marry a girl or a boy. But Dutee has been forced to speak all this. Otherwise, a decision about marriage could have been discussed later.” " - Saraswati Chand
Earlier on Sunday, Dutee said that while her parents have not yet raised any objection to her relationship, her eldest sister has threatened to not only expel her from the family, but also send her to jail.
"“My eldest sister kind of wields power and authority in my family. She has thrown out my elder brother from home because she does not like his wife. She has threatened me that the same will happen to me. But I am also an adult who has individual freedom. So, I decided to go ahead with this and make it public.”" - Dutee Chand
In fact, Dutee had also mentioned that her eldest sister felt that her partner is interested in my property.
Dutee, who won two silver medals at the 2018 Asian Games, became one of the few athletes in the world to openly admit to being in a same-sex relationship.
"“I am having a relationship with a 19-year-old woman from my village for the past five years. She is studying BA 2nd year in a Bhubaneswar college. She is a relative of mine and whenever I come home, I spend time with her. She is a kind of soul-mate for me and I want to settle down with her in the future.” " - Dutee Chand
Dutee said her partner is free to marry whomever she wants to if she decides to do so in future.
"I will continue my athletics career. I am going to take part in the World University Games next month and hope to qualify for the World Championships later this year. My aim to qualify for next year's Olympics, so I am training hard," she said.
While Dutee refused to name her partner, she said the Supreme Court judgment on the issue gave her the courage to go public.
"“My partner also agreed that we should make this public and face whatever repercussions it may bring to us. I believe in individual freedom and the right to decide how and with whom I will live my life.”" - Dutee Chand
A landmark judgment of the Supreme Court last year had made same sex relationships between consenting adults a non-criminal act, though marriage between such individuals is still not legal in India.
She said another reason for coming out in the open was that she did not want the same thing that happened with sprinter Pinki Pramanik, who was accused of rape by her live-in partner, to happen to her.
Pinki was a member of the 2006 Asian Games 4x400m relay gold-winning team."We did not want this kind of situation happening in future," Dutee said.
Dutee, who was banned for one year by the international athletics federation in 2014 for having a higher testosterone (male sex hormone) level than was permissible, hails from Chaka Gopalpur village at Jajpur district of Odisha. She was born to Chakradhar Chand and Akhuji Chand.
Dutee won a landmark 'gender' case against the IAAF in an appeal to the Court of Arbitration in 2015 and she was allowed to compete after being banned for one year.
The CAS suspended the IAAF's policy on hyperandrogenism for two years.
Later, the world body changed the policy, which was applicable only on female athletes competing in the range of 400m to 1500m, leaving out Dutee, who competes in 100m and 200m, from its ambit.
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