Author Pinki Virani, who petitioned the courts for the mercy killing of Aruna Shanbaug, said on Monday she would always remember the rape survivor as someone who gifted the country a law on passive euthanasia despite being denied the right to life as well as death.
Shanbaug had died a thousand deaths since she was sexually assaulted by a sweeper of King Edward Memorial Hospital when she was a beautiful 25-year-old woman betrothed to a doctor, Virani told Hindustan Times.
“What happened today was Aruna’s legal death. She was but a bundle of skin and bones. Her actual death took place on the evening of November 27, 1973,” said the author of “Aruna’s Story: The True Account of a Rape and its Aftermath”, a 1998 book that tells the heartbreaking story.
Virani was in Pune when the 67-year-old former nurse died in KEM Hospital on Monday morning.
“I wouldn’t pretend I am sad or even overjoyed. The only emotion I feel right now is one of huge relief. A long nightmare, for both of us, has ended,” she said on phone.
Acting on Virani’s petition, the Supreme Court legalised passive euthanasia in 2011 but laid down strict guidelines to prevent abuse. Passive euthanasia is a procedure in which medical treatment is withdrawn and death is allowed to occur.
Video: Aruna Shanbaug dies 42 years after brutal rape that put her in coma