N. Rahul

The ex-IAF airman is fed up as he cannot eke out a livelihood

HYDERABAD: The Andhra Pradesh State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) here on Friday took up a petition filed by a muscular dystrophy patient, Ramesh Babu (38) of Visakhapatnam, seeking permission to commit suicide as he was fed up with life.

Mr. Babu had sought mercy killing by SHRC in March since he was unable to eke out a livelihood after he was discharged as airman in the Indian Air Force in Visakhapatnam owing to his disease. This forced him to even sell off his property. On learning that the SHRC had admitted his plea, muscular dystrophy activists also impleaded themselves in Mr. Babu’s case.

Mobility affected

The SHRC posted the case for hearing on Saturday when over a score patients represented by Sanjana Goel, president of Indian Association of Muscular Dystrophy, and Sujata of Venkatesh Muscular Dystrophy Foundation, turned up in the court hall. Ms. Goel, a native of Himachal Pradesh, argued from her wheelchair that the patients could not be considered on a par with the physically-challenged as they suffered from a disease that grew progressively with age. Their mobility also reduced with age as other limbs got affected. But State governments across the country treated them as physically-challenged who in general terms had a disability which was final. Ms. Goel is a victim herself while Sujata’s son Venkatesh died of the disease three years ago.

Ms. Goel sought a relief of Rs. 3,500 a month from the State government for 8,000 patients in the State. SHRC chairman B. Subhashan Reddy agreed to issue suitable directions to the government and posted the case for orders on June 28. He also served orders on Khammam Superintendent of Police to produce before him a lineman of BSNL who failed to take care of his patient son Nagarjuna.