A sailor with the Indian Navy, who was recently removed from duty for breaching service rules by undergoing gender reassignment surgery, is preparing to approach the supreme court of the country to get herself reinstated.
Twenty-five-year-old Manish Giri, who was born as a male but is now referred to as Sabi, questioned the decision, stating: "I remain the same old person with the same potential and efficiency. I can perform my duties as efficiently as any male sailor."
Giri underwent the surgery in August 2016 when he was on a three-week leave. He was posted at a naval facility in Visakhapatnam in southern India at that time. He reportedly did not reveal the surgery to his officers after rejoining duty but was forced to disclose the new sexual identity to naval doctors when he was down with urinary tract infection.
"The Indian Navy has discharged Manish Giri, a naval sailor, evoking the clause of 'Service No Longer Required' under the Navy regulations," the navy said in a statement released recently on the decision, according to Press Trust of India.
It added: "The individual chose to undergo irreversible gender re-assignment on his own accord, whilst on leave wilfully altering his gender status from the one he was recruited for at the time of his induction.
"He has breached the recruitment regulations and eligibility criteria for his employment as a sailor in the Indian Navy."
Sabi's case has been referred to the ministry of defence. The procedure to discharge her of her duties was reportedly initiated in August this year.
In an interview to India Today following the decision, Sabi said 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".
She told the news channel that while she was undergoing Gender Identity Disorder at the Visakhapatnam naval base, she sought help from the naval doctors, but they turned her away. She then consulted doctors outside the navy, who suggested the gender reassignment surgery.
''When they (the Navy) found out about my gender reassignment surgery, no one objected or discriminated against me. 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 the ship and work at the base," she said.
She also alleged that she was "mentally harassed and kept in a psychiatric ward for six months" after her officers learned about her new identity.
"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 the news channel.