Patna: The parents of 16-year-old conjoined twins Saba and Farah are eagerly awaiting government help to surgically separate them.
This follows a Supreme Court directive to the central government to set up a panel of doctors to examine the surgical possibility since the family is too poor to foot the bill.
"The court has brought a ray of hope for us," Saba, lying on a bed with Farah at their residence in Samanpur, a Muslim locality here, told a news agency.
Farah agreed -- with a smile on her face.
"They share everything, their pain and happiness. The Supreme Court order has given us fresh hope," said their father Shakeel Ahmad.
Ahmad, who runs a small roadside eatery here, said only the government could help them family.
"Both girls are not keeping well for the last two years. Their condition is deteriorating. We are poor and helpless. We can only pray to god."
Rubina Khatoon, the mother, said the long delay in carrying out a surgery to separate them has affected their health.
"Now they consume very little food and cry in pain," she said.
Ahmad recalled that a few years ago, one of the rulers in the Gulf region promised to bear the cost of the operation.
"But after initial consultation at Delhi`s Apollo hospital, everything was forgotten," he said.
American neurosurgeon Benjamin Carson had travelled to New Delhi to study them. He agreed to perform the risky operation assisted by Indian doctors.
Carson had said then that the surgery was risky and there were chances of only one girl surviving.
Although the twins have distinct brains and are neurologically and psychologically normal, only one of them has kidneys.
The apex court Monday directed a panel of doctors, including those from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, to give their opinion on the scope of surgery.
The court direction came on a public interest litigation by Aarushi Dhasmana, a law student from Pune-based Symbiosis Law School.
Doctors say Saba and Farah will have to undergo a series of surgeries before they can be separated.