Family or hospital staff members who have cared for her more than her family — who will perform the final rites of Aruna Shanbaug? This question came up at the Bhoiwada crematorium on Monday.
In coma for 42 years, Shanbaug died of cardio-pulmonary arrest at the KEM hospital’s medical intensive care unit (MICU) on Monday morning. While her family remained elusive for so long, they turned up on getting the news. This upset the nurses at the hospital, who have been attending to Shanbaug for four decades.
“We had collected funds for her funeral. All these years, the nurses have cared for her. Her family has never bothered to show up,” said Arundhati Vellal, matron at the hospital, who contributed Rs10,000 for Shanbaug’s funeral.
“We are her family and will take care of her even at this juncture,” said another nurse.
To avoid any clash between the hospital nurses and family, the family members were asked to stay inside the dean’s office for some time. “As the immediate relatives were the legal claimants of the body, they have the right to perform the last rites,” said Sunil Tondwalkar, senior inspector, Bhoiwada police station.
Finding a middle ground, Dr Avinash Supe, KEM Hospital dean, along with Shanbaug’s nephew Vinayak Nayak, performed the last rites according to the Gaud Saraswat Brahmin tradition.