Euthanasia, commonly called mercy killing, has become a burning topic following the Supreme Court's verdict in the Aruna Shanbaug case and the guidelines on passive euthanasia. There is a huge debate on whether to legalise it or restrict it. It is unethical to withdraw the support system of a patient in a permanent vegetative state after consulting the patient's relatives, friends, doctors or the patient himself/herself. Life is precious. A human being cannot decide to take it away.

V.V.N. Sriteja,

Guntur

Accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, Mother Teresa narrated a true incident. A man was picked up from the drain, half-eaten with worms and brought to the Mother House. The man said, as quoted by Mother Teresa, “I have lived like an animal in the street but I am going to die like an angel, loved and cared for.”

On the other hand, here is the case of Aruna Shanbaug who, despite being in a PVS for 37 years, has been living peacefully — albeit unknowingly — thanks to the love and care showered on her by the nursing staff of the King Edward Memorial Hospital, Mumbai. Who is anybody to plead that she be allowed to die in the name of mercy (passive or active) killing? She does not need ‘mercy' when she has been enjoying the love and care of the hospital staff. May this Year's Nobel Peace Prize be awarded to KEM Hospital and its staff.

Bh. Subrahmanyam,

Vizianagaram

God has created us and he alone can take away our lives. Mercy killing will lead to the end of love, affection and perseverance in human beings.

India has a rich heritage and culture and it should not yield to the demands for legalising mercy killing under any circumstance. We, as a society, believe in the concept of eternal life.

Syed Abdul Hai,

Dindigul

I respect the emotions of the nursing staff of the KEM hospital who have taken care of Aruna for 37 years. Their dedication shows that humanity is still alive in our country. But if we put ourselves in Aruna's shoes, we will realise the pain and torment she has been undergoing. If we really love her, is it not our duty to free her from the never-ending pain? I feel Pinky Virani's petition should have been accepted.

Brinda Basak,

New Delhi

I would support Ms Virani and euthanasia in Aruna's case. Only if we were in Aruna's condition, would we know what she feels like. Ms Virani is only trying to end her suffering.

J. Sai Gowtam Chandrahasa,

Visakhapatnam

I am sure all of us have seen Aruna's picture on television and newspapers. I want to ask all those who are against withdrawing life support to her to please touch their heart and say whether they would prefer life or death if they were in a similar condition.

Undergoing agony and pain is bad. But the worst part is not even realising the pain. As for those who argue that a law allowing passive euthanasia may be misused, my answer is: penicillin can produce anaphylactic shock and death. Should we ban penicillin?

Dr. D. Elangovan,

Dindigul

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