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Aruna Shanbhag is a nurse from Haldipur, Shimoga, Karnataka in India. In 1973, while she was working at King Edward Memorial Hospital, Parel, Mumbai she was assaulted by a Sohanlal Bhartha Walmiki, a ward boy at the hospital.[1] Walmiki was motivated partly by resentment for being ordered about and castigated by Shanbaug.[2][3]

On the night of 27 November 1973 he attacked her while she was changing clothes in the hospital basement for leaving her shift. He choked her with a dog chain and sodomized her. The asphyxiation during the course of the assault cut off oxygen supply to her brain resulting in brain stem contusion injury and cervical cord injury as well as leaving her cortically blind.[4]

The initial medical examination to verify rape as the crime found that Aruna had no vaginal bruises and her hymen was intact. Aruna was menstruating on the day and therefore the rapist did not penetrate her. Subsequent medical reports prove that she bled for days together from the anus.

The police case was registered as a case of robbery and attempted murder, but not rape on account of the concealment of anal rape by the doctors under the instructions of the Dean of KEM, the late Dr. Deshpande perhaps to avoid the social rejection which might break her impending marriage to her fiancé, Dr. Sundeep Sardesai.[5]

She since the assault has been in a vegetative state till date.

Most of the news articles and stories published except for a select few seem to focus on the emotional angle of the suffering of the victim and the travesty of justice. They fail to elaborate that the legal system and the police were frustrated in their genuine and earnest efforts for a proper conviction due to distortion of the facts by hospital authorities due to concerns extraneous to the judicial process.

Following the attack, Indian nurses went on strike to demand improved working conditions in Mumbai hospitals and better treatment for Shanbaug.[3]

A book titled 'Aruna's Story' has been written by journalist Pinki Virani about the case, as well as a play, Katha Arunachi written by Vinay Apte and Duttakumar Desai.[6]

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

ta:அருணா ஷான்பாக்

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