Finally, death came to Aruna Shanbaug and took her to a better and a peaceful world. The 66-year-old former junior nurse had been lying on ventilator in coma for the last 42 years. In 1973, Aruna was brutally raped by a ward boy of Mumbai's KEM Hospital, where she worked. So severe was the effect of the sexual assault by the ward boy Sohanlal that Aruna slipped into coma immediately and was also partially blinded.
A few days before her death, Aruna was diagnosed with pneumonia and was shifted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and was also put on a ventilator. On the morning of 18 May 2015, she passed away following a cardiac arrest. Her funeral was performed by the hospital nurses and other staff members who looked after her for the last four decades.
Ever since the fateful night, Aruna never regained consciousness and was looked after by a team of KEM hospital staff. Aruna's condition gave rise to debate on euthanasia – the plea was made in the Indian courts by human right activist and lawyer Pinky Virani. The mercy killing petition by Virani, however, was turned down by a medical panel set up by Supreme Court in 2011.
For half a dozen nurses of the hospital, who looked after Aruna for the last four decades it was an irreparable loss. When Aruna's family and her fiancé abandoned her, it was these fellow nurses who remained by her side.
The story of Aruna revealed several glaring loopholes in the system as right to a dignified death wasn't given to her. Her condition had also led to some human rights group demanding for passive euthanasia. The culprit Sohanlal was caught and punished with a mere five years of imprisonment, in the absence of strict rape laws, in those days.
Aruna's condition inspired several authors and playwrights, who narrated stories around her life. Aruna's Story, a non-fiction book by Pinki Virani, in 1998 highlighted her case. Duttakumar Desai's Marathi play Katha Arunachi that gave an insight on Aruna's life was widely performed. #Police #Society