Mumbai marks Aruna Shanbaug’s birthday

Aruna ShanbaugNurses of the KEM Hospital fondly remembered Aruna Ramchandra Shanbaug, who remained in coma for 42 years after sexual assault when she was 25 and died here on May 18.

Since morning, scores of nurses visited the tiny room No.4 in the hospital which was Shanbaug’s home as she lay there for over four decades – deserted by her family and relatives, but cared lovingly by the nurses of the hospital. They put flowers, symbolically cut cake, and greeted one another.

KEM Hospital dean Avinash Supe said nurses have been remembering Aruna Shanbaug since morning. A commemorative programme has been organised in the hospital auditorium later in the day by the nursing staff.

“We have also decided to rename the room No.4 after Aruna Shanbaug and continue giving care to patients there,” Supe said.

The demand for renaming the room was made by the nursing staff shortly after Shanbaug’s death. Later, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced that the Thane Nursing Training College would also be renamed after her.

In another development, a Marathi biography on Shanbaug, ‘Vyatha Arunachi’ (Aruna’s Agony), penned by Mumbai journalist Neha Purav after her death two weeks ago, would be released later in the day.

“I used to go and sit at Aruna’s bedside for many years, observed her from close quarters and also interacted with the nurses who cared for her all these years. I thought of writing the book after she died,” Purav told IANS.

The book will be released at a public function at Mumbai Press Club in the presence of Supe, former Rajya Sabha member Bharat Raut, dean of Sir JJ Group of Hospital T.P. Lahane, former mayors Shraddha Jadhav and Shubha Raul, Darpan Publishers’ Deepak Mhatre and other prominent personalities.

Giving highlights, Purav said the book details the agony of Aruna’s life in hospital, how the nurses tried to help her selflessly, how she was deserted by her family members, how her former fiancé even applied a ‘red tika’ on her forehead four years after she lapsed into coma, but later succumbed to family pressures and refused to accept her as his wife.

Last week, a Mumbai journalist tracked down the current whereabouts of Sohanlal Valmiki, the former hospital contract sweeper who perpetrated the crime on Shanbaug 42 years ago shortly before she was proceeding on leave to get married.

Valmiki was traced to a village in Ghaziabad district of Uttar Pradesh.

According to latest reports, following the “discovery” of a person of disrepute in their midst, the villagers now want him to leave the village.