Mumbai: Former King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital nurse Aruna Shanbaug, who was in a vegetative state for the last 42 years, after she was sexually assaulted by a hospital sweeper in November 27, 1973, passed away on Monday.
66-year-old Shanbaug was suffering from Pneumonia and was put on ventilator last week. She was declared dead at 8:30 am today.
She was cremated in the evening with hundreds including nursing fraternity bidding a tearful adieu.
The nurses of the KEM hospital at Parel here, who took care of her for long, were keen to perform the last rites of Aruna instead of her kin.
However, a compromise was evolved by which the nurses, other hospital staff and kin of Aruna jointly performed the last rites. KEM hospital dean and Aruna's nephew together lit the funeral pyre.
Supe has made a public appeal to help trace any relatives or people close to Shanbaug who can get in touch with the hospital immediately.
Last year, Aruna was shifted back to a newly furbished room at the municipal corporation-run KEM Hospital in Parel after a week-long stay in the intensive care unit.
In March 2011, the Supreme Court had rejected a petition filed by former journalist and author Pinki Virani, who had sought mercy killing (euthanasia) for Aruna Shanbaug, which the KEM hospital's management and nursing staff had opposed.
Virani had narrated the story of the ailing nurse in her 1998 non-fiction book called 'Aruna's Story', while Duttakumar Desai wrote the Marathi play, 'Katha Arunachi' in 1994-95, which was staged under director Vinay Apte in 2002.
Speaking to Zee Media today, Virani, "Her actual death happened in 1973 (referring to the tragic attack on her) now what has happened is her legal death.Our Aruna has given our country a big thing in form of a law on passive euthanasia."