How often will we get to read ‘Justice delayed is justice denied‘ in several decade old judicial cases articles that appear in newspaper and magazines? How often a case like Aarushi Talwar, Jessica Lall, Nitish Katara, Ruchika Mehrotra, Priyadarshini Mattoo and many other will grab limelight due to public outcry.
When ever I have read these cases one case has always come back to haunt me. I first read about this case probably in 1998 (I was in junior high) and it shocked me completely. Not because of its sheer brutality or the sadness that it endowed upon me but because of the fact that justice was given but it was frugal. She was clearly forgotten just because back then there were no candle march supports or innumerable 24×7 news channel to take up this case as a constant ticker on their prime timeline.
Nurse Aruna Shanbaug was raped on 01 November 1973 by ward boy Sohanlal Walmiki while she was changing clothes after finishing her shift. Sounds not so special yet but read more. He choked her with a dog collar that cut-off oxygen supply to her brain. Aruna has been a vegetable since then. She cannot speak, emote, use her limbs or control her muscles. For 33 years, she’s been living a vegetative existence on a bed in KEM hospital. (Source: TOI). The attacker was initially sentenced to seven years sentence which was later reduced to six as one year was served in the lock-up. The court did not even tried him for rape. I am not discussing the details of the gory act that he did as it makes my fingers shiver.
So you were moved by Hrithik’s performance in Guzaarish? Please note that Aruna’s plight will make us cringe in disbelief. She is blind, has to be fed, changed, cleaned and practically be taken care of for every single thing in life. Aruna is over 60 years now and has been a vegetable for almost 36 years now. Talking of the worst thing that could happen was her own family deserted her. Her fiancé however took care of her till he also got married.
Upon his release from jail, Walmiki shifted his base to Delhi and is leading a normal life. He must be a grand-dad by now. Yes, the animal who brought such calamity to Aruna’s life is living a peaceful life. Why wouldn’t this kind of information evoke a sentiment that made an NID student attack SPS Rathore just outside the court? it evokes similar emotions inside me as well.
Pinki Virani is currently writing a book on Aruna’s life and has moved to Supreme Court with a plea for mercy-killing.
What is the future for Aruna? More so what is the future of such ailing vicitms? Will we ever really get to know who killed Aarushi? Will there be more over-dramatic bollywood portrayal of more Jessicas or Priyadarshinis and over the top TV serials to depict cases like Ruchika.
You must be wondering why I am actually writing this post. Is it because I had to write something to show my aggression after the current media frenzy over Aarushi Talwar murder case or just because No One Killed Jessica has released? I had to write it because in my heart I feel incapable of making any difference to Aruna’s life. I had to write it because somewhere we have forgotten her and few more.
How safe are we outside our homes and inside our homes? How safe are we at our schools, colleges, workplaces or public transport? If at all a crime is committed will justice be served? Will it be not delayed? Will it be not frugal?
Now that you’ve finished this post, all I can ask you is say a quick prayer for Aruna. She may not realize what all has transpired after that ill-fated night but somewhere she needs a prayer for taking new birth in an era where she will leave a normal life with a husband and some kids she planned in this life.
Update on the euthanasia plea is available here (Source: TOI). A panel of doctors have observed her situation and has confirmed that she is in a permanent vegetative state. However, the nursing staff feels she is not leading a painful life and expresses by some sounds.
Kudos to the nurses and hospital staff of KEM Hospital. May god bestow his choicest blessings upon you.
I will continue to update this post.
Suggested Related Readings by the author:
Marital Rape ~ Clock Strikes One (fictional story)
Pic couresy: Frontline