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Kid wants death, suffer says life

A deadly debate has pitched the steel city into the global morality club. For the first time, it is splitting hair over euthanasia.

india Updated: May 25, 2006 02:32 IST

A deadly debate has pitched the steel city into the global morality club. For the first time, it is splitting hair over euthanasia or “mercy killing” -- and finding it quite hard on the heart.

The life at stake is that of 12-year-old Vijay Kumar, a terminally-ill child. And his father Ashok Kumar, an apprentice with Tata Motors, has this to say, “It is not possible for us support his treatment. Life has deserted him, yet death is not obliging him. I request you to allow euthanasia.”

Kumar has petitioned the East Singhbhum deputy commissioner Nitin Madan Kulkarni and President APJ Abdul Kalam to allow Vijay a “painless exit”.

Copies of the letter have also been sent to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Jharkhand chief minister Arjun Munda. “I have forwarded the letter and expressed my helplessness to the parents. No law allows this. He has not sought any monetary aid and what he is asking is simply out of question. The treatment is expensive and would cost nearly Rs 15-Rs 20 lakh," Kulkarni told the HT.

Opinions are sharply split. Lawyer Udit Sarkar told HT that it was not permissible under law. “There have been several cases in India and the courts have ruled against it. Law does not give one the right to take his or her own life. Even when a person is declared brain dead or clinically dead, this is not allowed,” Sarkar said.

State IMA general secretary Ajay Kumar Singh terms it unethical. “This is against MCI rules. The registration of a doctor, who dares to do this, will be scrapped by MCI. It is up to Parliament and Supreme Court to take a conclusive view,” Singh said. He, however, wants the government to look into it. Kumar has his arguments lined up. “I spend whatever I get -- Rs 3,600 per month -- for his treatment. I took him to CMC, Vellore where he was diagnosed with Aplastic Anaemia and had to be given a bone marrow transplant, which costs nearly Rs 10-12 lakh. I told them I could afford only Rs 50,000 but they sent us back,” Kumar said. He has been forced to sell his land.

And the bills at the Tata Motors Hospital stand at Rs 65,000.