of an Indian Terri Schiavo will be decided on Monday by the Supreme Court in
Delhi. Aruna Shanbaug, a Mumbai nurse, has been in a coma since 1973, after she
was strangled and sexually assaulted in a hospital ward. Her own family abandoned
her a few days later. Her fiancé, a doctor, also moved on after a couple of
years. The hospital nursing staff have since been taking care of her ever
and activist Pinki Virani, the author of a book about Ms Shanbaug’s plight, has asked
authorities to order the hospital to remove her feeding tube so that she can
starve to death.
Indian government opposes the application. “Withdrawal or withholding of food
to Aruna Shanbaug would be cruel, reprehensible and lead to pain and suffering.
It cannot be allowed,” attorney-general G.E. Vahanvati told the court. “This is
unknown to Indian law and is contrary to law,” he said, adding that she had the
“right to live in her present state”.
King Edward Memorial hospital, where Ms Shanbaug is
being nursed, also opposes the move. “We have taken care of her for over 38
years. If we do not make an application seeking to end her life, Ms Virani
cannot,” said the hospital’s lawyer. ~ Calcutta Telegraph, Mar 2