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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 November 2005, 18:20 GMT
Time up for cross-dressing cop?
By Ram Dutt Tripathi
BBC News, Lucknow

Devendra Kumar Panda, an inspector general in the Uttar Pradesh state police
Mr Panda's other life was kept secret for years
The authorities in India's Uttar Pradesh state are trying to work out what to do with a senior police officer who likes dressing up in drag.

Things came to a head last week when inspector general Devendra Kumar Panda turned up in court in a yellow dress and dark red lipstick.

TV news channels flocked to his home to film him worshipping Hindu deity Lord Krishna in the form of a tree.

Mr Panda says he is the reincarnation of Goddess Radha, Lord Krishna's beloved.

His wife takes a different view - she has filed for separation because he is not behaving like a husband.

The court in Lucknow ordered Mr Panda to pay 7,000 rupees ($150) a month in maintenance allowance.

Wife's fears

Mr Panda's wife, Veena, fears he may lose his job - and she her maintenance allowance.

That is my private bed room. Only Krishna can enter there
Inspector general DK Panda

"Please keep my future in mind," she told reporters. "I am a 51-year-old lady and a graduate. I should not suffer due to any action against him."

The couple have been married for 33 years and have two sons, but Mr Panda now pays his family no attention.

He has been spending his time embracing a peepal, or holy fig, tree in his garden, chanting mantras to his beloved Lord Krishna.

One room in his house is kept sacred and secret.

"That is my private bed room. Only Krishna can enter there," he says.

'Strange behaviour'

There is nothing unusual in a Hindu ascetic getting up early and quoting from scriptures, as Mr Panda does.

Nor is it uncommon for Hindu sects to worship deities as lovers, or for men to live like women devotees.

But Mr Panda's position is a tricky one, seeing as he is a senior police officer.

Colleagues kept his penchant for ladies' clothes a secret for years, but must now decide what to do with a man who has become a figure of ridicule.

"The appearance and behaviour of Mr Panda is strange," admits director general of police, Yashpal Singh.

"But maybe he is suffering from some mental problem and any disciplinary action may precipitate things."




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