Lalita Salve rejoins police force as man

Constable Lalit Salve

Dressed smartly in a 'khakhi' trouser and half-shirt and a matching dark-blue beret, Lalit Salve rejoined the police force on Tuesday after a genital reconstruction procedure at Mumbai's St George’s Hospital.

A confident Lalit Kumar Salve (earlier Lalita Kumari Salve), walked and reported to Senior Inspector of Police Raju Talekar, head of the Majalgaon police station in the Beed district of Maharashtra. This is the first case of a sex-change surgery in the history of the Indian police.

"It's like a new birth for me...It's a very happy day for me, my family...I cannot describe the feelings...I am confident now...I will be getting a new cap meant for a male constable now. My life has changed after the operation," said Lalit

While thanking Superintendent of Police G Sreedhar, Talekar and colleagues, Lalit said, "They all stood by me."

In fact, Lalit's correspondence with the police caught the attention of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who had asked the Director General of Police Satish Mathur to look into the case.

Lalit was admitted to St George’s hospital on May 22 and was discharged on June 12. Last week, Lalit 'bhau', as he is now being referred to, was accorded a grand welcome on arriving after the surgery at his village, Rajegaon. 

People placed a 'topi' (hat) on his head and wrapped a 'gamcha' around the neck - traditional way of welcoming men.

Last year, Lalit moved the Bombay High Court seeking leave to undergo the sex-change surgery. The court directed Lalit to approach the Maharashtra Appellate Tribunal (MAT). The leave was later granted.

In the first part of the surgery, the hospital initiated the process to elongate Lalit's urethra by creating a tissue conduit. Lalit would be undergoing few more procedures. 

Dr Madhukar Gaikwad, Medical Superintendent, St George's Hospital and Dr Rajat Kapoor, Head of Plastic Surgery, oversaw the procedure. “This is the first stage of the surgery…the second stage would be conducted after six months,” said Dr Kapoor.

In 2010, Lalita noticed changes in her body and underwent medical tests in 2014, which suggested that she had male genes (presence of Y chromosome). Then, in 2016, JJ Hospital in Mumbai suggested a sex-change operation.

"She was a woman. She developed transsexual gender symptom since the last 2-3 years. She was attracted to women as against men due to chromosomal Y status in the genes. In absence of due medical care from the state or the department, she continued to live under serious mental trauma and under a social stigma," Lalit's petition stated. 

A graduate in literature, Lalit had also pointed out Article 16 of the Constitution that deals with "Equality of Opportunity in matters of public Employment".

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Lalita Salve rejoins police force as man

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