An impoverished father of two physically challenged women is urging West Bengal's chief minister to allow him to end their miserable lives.
In a throwback to the Terry Schiavo episode that shook the US on the question of mercy killing, Abdul Rauf wants the state's Communist government to allow his daughters to end their lives.
For almost 40 years, Rauf and his wife have looked after their daughters -- Fatima, 39, and Rejina, 29 -- who have 95 per cent disability and are unable to even stir out of bed without help.
But now the 75-year-old father, a resident of Molugram in Birbhum district, some 170 km northwest of Kolkata, says he is unable to provide anymore medical care to his daughters.
"We are growing old and we are unable to take care for our daughters anymore. What will happen to them once we are gone?
"So, I asked the government, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, to allow the girls to end their lives legally," Rauf said.
"It is a decision no parent can take, but in any case after us our daughters would die. We want to spare them the pain of a long, suffering death," says Anwara Bibi, the mother of the unfortunate sisters.
The poor father, who worked as a bus driver until a few years ago, now makes end meet by begging and borrowing from neighbours.
A few days ago, Rauf wrote to Bhattacharya urging him allow the two sisters the right to take their lives before their parents die.
Bhattacharya had asked district officials to inquire into the matter. Officials said they would find out why Rauf's daughters had not received a Rs 500 grant given to physically challenged people by the state government.