Woman cop from Beed seeks leave to undergo sex change operation, wants to resume duty as a man

Updated: 17 November, 2017 19:24 IST | Asif Rizvi, Suraj Ojha and Santosh Wagh | Mumbai

Weeks after a trans person was dismissed by the navy, Maharashtra police get their first application from a personnel for gender correction

After serving in the Maharashtra police force for nearly a decade, constable Lalitha Salve, 29, is seeking some time away from the call of duty for a major life change - a sex reassignment surgery. Salve, currently deputed at the Majalgaon city police station in Beed, has submitted a written application to Satish Mathur, Director General of Police, asking for a month's leave to undergo the surgery and to be referred to as a male constable post the procedure.

In the application filed through her advocate Dr Syed Ejaz Abbas Naqvi, Salve, a native of Majalgaon taluka has also mentioned that the department should change their existing records about her to her new gender identity after the operation. The letter also mentions that Salve has hormonal imbalances.

Constable Lalitha Salve
Constable Lalitha Salve

Awaiting a response
Speaking to mid-day, Naqvi said, "My client has undergone medical treatment at Sir JJ hospital, wherein doctors have advised her to undergo the surgery for which she requires almost a month's leave. We are awaiting a response on her application from her superiors; otherwise, she is in the process of filing an appropriate case before an appropriate forum." All Salve told mid-day was, "I have given an application but would not be able to divulge any details at this moment. I would be able to talk only after the department's decision is out and my surgery is over."

DGP says
When mid-day asked Satish Mathur, the Director General of Police (DGP), about the application, he said, "For things related to constable rank officials, the local SP has to take call, as they are recruited from that level." Meanwhile, Shreedhar Govindrajan, superintendent of police, Beed said, "We have received an application from her mentioning that she wants to undergo sex reassignment surgery. We have forwarded her application to the DGP's office and are awaiting their remarks and guidelines. Once we get them, we'll act accordingly." While granting a leave may not be such a difficult proposition, there is no word yet on whether Salve can retain her job, since she had been recruited as a woman.

Constable Lalitha Salve joined the police force in May 2010
Constable Lalitha Salve joined the police force in May 2010

No contact
Back in Majalagon, Salve's colleague, senior inspector Rajiv Talekar said, "She is on sick leave since the last two months and we have not been able to contact her. Salve has applied for a sex change operation. We had sent staff to look for her at the police quarters and her residence in Rajegaon, but she was not available even there." Salve had joined the police force in May 2010 as a constable and has been attached with the Beed police since then. A graduate in literature, she has an athletic personality. She is a runner and has participated in several local marathons. She has two brothers - one of them owns a cell phone shop, while the other is an autorickshaw driver. Her elder sister is married, while her parents reside in Rajegaon village. After Salve joined the police force, she began staying at the police quarters in Majalgaon.

Family in full support
While her family is supportive of the surgery, they don't want her to lose her job. "We stand by her and have no issues with her decision. She has given her application to the department and we hope that they accept her the same way we have," said her younger brother Balu. Another major concern for the family is the cost of the surgery. The doctors at JJ Hospital have said that the cost of surgery would be somewhere around Rs 8 lakh. "The family belongs to the lower middle class. Her father is a farmer, while her mother also works in the fields. It would be really difficult for them to bear the cost of surgery. To top it all, if the department refuses her application, it would be tough for them," said a close relative.

First Published: 17 November, 2017 11:05 IST

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