A naval sailor was discharged from service after he went through a sex-reassignment surgery a few months ago.
An Indian Navy sailor who underwent a sex reassignment surgery has been discharged from service recently. Ever since the news came out in the open, it has triggered a debate over naval rules and transgender rights in India.
A press release by the Indian Navy said that the sailor, who now goes by the name Sabi, decided to undergo the surgery “on his [her] own accord, whilst on leave willfully altering his [her] gender status”.
The current rules and regulations of the Indian Naval Services do not permit the sailor to continue her services due to the altered gender status.
The decision of the Indian Navy received a lot of flak when the matter came into public arena, as armed forces were being questioned about the induction of women in armed forces.
“We have asked the government on the action to be taken by us regarding the sailor as she has spent her own money to change sex,” a Navy source told Mail Today.
Born as Manish Kumar Giri, Sabi joined the Marine Engineering department of the Eastern Naval Command at Visakhapatnam some seven years ago.
A few months ago, she underwent a sex re-assignment operation in Delhi.The Navy was not aware of her surgery, until she returned after a 22-day long vacation and fell ill with a urinary track infection.
In August, the process for her discharge from service was initiated, and the case has now been taken up with the Ministry of Defence.
”When they (the Navy) found out about my sex reassignment surgery, no one objected or discriminated against me,” Sabi told India Today.
However, she did point out that it is “sad and worrying that a ‘man’ the Indian Navy deemed fit for the job of being a sailor has suddenly been declared unfit because of an organ change,”.
Sabi had earlier hailed the Indian Navy and its “liberal policy” giving her an alternative deployment in the service.
“I used to work as an engineer and it required me to be on the ship. But my new identity of a woman has forced me to stay away from ship and work at the base,” she said.
Sabi, who was diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder, said that she had tried to seek help from the naval doctors, but they had turned her away. Eventually, she consulted civil doctors in Visakhapatnam.
She has also alleged that she was “mentally harassed and kept in a psychiatric ward for six months. They tried to prove me mentally unfit but they failed,”.
The Indian Navy has forwarded her case to the Ministry of Defence, seeking advice on the future course of action.
“I am as much a citizen of India as any other male or female citizen of the country. I have the same rights as other enjoys. I can still pull the trigger of a gun and shoot the enemy, why am I not fit enough to serve my country? I will go to the Supreme Court if I have to and fight for my rights,” Sabi told India Today.
She is also considering writing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking justice.