The pain and suffering has become so unbearable for Saba and Farah Shakeel that their father, Mohammed Shakeel, is petitioning the government for a "mercy killing" (also known as euthanasia or doctor assisted suicide).
Sadly, the 15-year-old girls are conjoined; they have been connected at the skull since birth. As a result of this tragic disability, they allegedly have headaches, joint pain and slurred speech. Judging from video footage, the young women are also unable to walk and travel with ease. But, the situation wasn't always this terrible.
Five years ago, the girls caught the world's attention after they turned down Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi's offer to pay for the surgical procedures needed to separate them. The Telegraph has more:
They were examined at Apollo Hospital in New Delhi, where a team under Benjamin Carson, an American conjoined twins specialist, found they shared a vital blood vessel in the brain, and that Farah had two kidneys while Saba had none. The separation would have required five or six operations over nine months, but each stage held a one in five chance that either of the girls might die.
Being unable to fathom one or both of the young girls dying, the family decided to decline treatment. Since turning down the surgery, the family has purportedly not been able to afford the medical expenses that would be incurred by seeking basic medical assistance (Shakeel only makes $105 per month).
As a result, no doctor has been able to diagnose or pinpoint the root cause of the girls' pain. Five years ago, aside from their obvious barrier, Saba and Farah seemed happy and healthy. CBS News reports:
"The girls want to live and enjoy life as others do but when they are in pain, they cry and ask for help," Shakeel said. "All we want is either the government should come and help us treat them or allow them to die, because they are in a miserable condition."
Below, watch video of the young girls as they offer prayers at a shrine in hopes that they will receive some relief:
Interestingly, the girls' father is a Muslim. While mercy killing in Islam is accepted in some limited situations, it does not appear as though the girls' qualify. DNAIndia.com writes:
According to religious experts, Islam allows ‘passive’ mercy killing. If a person is dying and is being kept alive on machines like a ventilator, then it is allowed to offer the person the option of mercy killing.
If a person is suffering from cancer or a terminal illness or pain, he cannot be offered a means to kill himself. “This would be active killing, and is haram and forbidden in Islam,” said [Dr Shoaib] Sayyed, [a doctor who in his capacity as the manager for Islam and Comparative religions at the Islamic Research Foundation.]
Perhaps the government will intervene again to provide the young women with medical care -- or grant their euthanasia wishes. Regardless of their father's religious affiliation, he is petitioning to ease his daughters' pain by any means necessary.