Mumbai Nurse Aruna Shanbaug’s Attacker Found in UP Village: Report
MUMBAI: The man who brutally assaulted Mumbai nurse Aruna Shanbaug, leaving her in a coma for 42 years, works as a labourer in a village in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad, a local newspaper claimed on Friday.
Sohanlal Bharta Valmiki, who raped Aruna in 1973, told the newspaper that he could not recall what happened on that day. Aruna died two weeks ago in a hospital in Mumbai.
“Why are you people calling it as rape?” Valmiki asked the journalist from Marathi newspaper Sakaal Times who met him at Parpa village in Ghaziabad.
Aruna was a junior nurse in her 20s at Mumbai’s KEM hospital when she was brutally assaulted and raped by Valmiki – then a ward boy – who she had scolded for stealing food that was meant for stray animals adopted by the hospital. She had just finished her shift, and was in the basement of the hospital changing before leaving for home. Her attacker had been lying in wait. He sodomised her and then strangled her with a dog chain, cutting supply of oxygen to her brain. She was discovered in the basement 11 hours later, blind and suffering from a severe brain stem injury.
Valmiki was freed after a seven-year jail sentence and was never heard of again. Some reports suggested he had died.
Author Pinki Virani, who wrote the book ‘Aruna’s Story’ and had petitioned the Supreme Court to stop the force-feeing of Aruna, claims that based on her talks with hospital ward boys, Valmiki later moved to Delhi, changed his identity and went on to work in a hospital there. Valmiki denied those claims.
Reacting to the report that Valmiki is alive, the Mumbai Police on Friday said that it would seek legal opinion on whether to file a fresh murder case against him.
“Prima-facie it seems that this old case may not attract any fresh sections as Aruna died of pneumonia,” Mumbai Joint Commissioner of Police Deven Bharti told PTI, when asked if they would consider re-opening the case after her death.
“While giving judgement on plea of mercy killing filed by a journalist, the Supreme Court had said that let Aruna die a natural death. Hence in this purview, Aruna died of pneumonia that seems to be the immediate cause of her death,” Mr Bharti said.
However, he added that the police would seek legal opinion first and then decide the future course of action.