1973 Sexual Assault Victim Aruna Shanbaug passes away in Mumbai

Aruna Shanbaug, a former nurse of King Edward Memorial Hospital, Parel, Mumbai, who had been battling with life for past 42 years passed away today. She was in comatose since 1973, after being sexually assaulted by a sweeper working in the same hospital. She was about to get married to a doctor named Sandeep Sardesai, days before being sexually assaulted, which left her cortically blind. The Accused named Sohanlal Bhartha Walmiki, worked as a sweeper on contract and was sentenced to 7 years in jail. Her last rites (funeral) would be done today.

Last week, Shanbaug was put on ventilator after she was diagnosed of pneumonia. She was taken to the medical ICU (MICU) and was treated with antibiotics.

Aruna Shanbaug was Bed Ridden since 1973

Aruna Shanbaug was Bed Ridden since 1973

The KEM Hospital Dean Avinash Supe confirmed her death and appealed any of her relatives to get in touch with the hospital immediately.

Her only known relative, elder sister Shanta Nayak had passed away 2 years ago. However, even when she was alive, she had expressed inability to take care of Aruna, citing her poor financial conditions.

Since 1973, she had been living in the Ward Number 4 of the same hospital which used to be her workplace. Having no one to take care, other nurses of the hospital took the responsibility of her treatment and care and Ward#4 remained her home for next 4 decades.

In March 2011, the Supreme Court had rejected the petition filed by former journalist and author Pinki Virani, seeking mercy killing (euthanasia) for Aruna Shanbaug. The plea was even opposed by the KEM hospital’s management and nursing staff.

Her plight was recorded in a book by journalist Pinki Virani. Her story was also penned in a drama by Vinay Apte and Duttakumar Desai titled “Katha Arunachi.”

(With inputs from Agencies)