For the last five years, Dinesh Singh, 54, has spent every possible spare time by his son, Amit’s bedside at Jaslok Hospital. Amit, 24, slipped into a coma after a bomb exploded in the first class train compartment he was traveling in on July 11, 2006.
On Monday, Singh heaved a sigh of satisfaction when he heard of the Supreme Court’s decision to reject a mercy killing plea made on behalf of Aruna Shanbaug, a KEM Hospital nurse who has been lying in a vegetative state for the last 37 year after being sodomised and assaulted by a ward boy.
Singh did not fully agree with the court’s ruling that passive euthanasia could be permitted in exceptional cases. “Who has the right to kill someone when life is a gift of God. Aruna will die a natural death and I respect the verdict given by the SC,” said Singh. “My child will die when his time will come. I can never support mercy killing...” said Singh, a railway employee.
The Shanbaug case bears relevance for the Sawant family too. They recounted the helplessness they felt as they watched their son, Parag, lie motionless on a hospital bed for almost 18 months after he suffered a brain injury and slipped into coma after the July 11, 2006 train blasts. “...The verdict is justifiable and Aruna should die a natural death,” said Parag’s 52-year-old mother, Madhuri.
After three brain surgeries, Parag, 31, though bed-ridden, is now conscious, can sometimes move his hand and communicates in slightly garbled speech.