Help is finally on the way for 70-year-old Hakimuddin of Orissa and his three physically challenged sons with the district administration promising assistance after the impoverished man wrote to India's president seeking permission to end their lives.
The district collector of Bhadrak in Orissa constituted a team of doctors and administrative officials to conduct an inquiry on the condition of the poor family in Kamalpur village. His move came after the media highlighted Hakimuddin's plight.
"The collector has sought a detailed report within 24 hours," an official said Sunday.
"The teams will inquire about their physical and economic conditions and the district administration will provide necessary assistance based on their report," District collector Nalinikanta Burma told IANS.
Hakimuddin's three sons, Raffiuddin, 35, Mayiuddin, 33, and Mustaffa, 30, are stated to be suffering from a rare genetic disease - that weakens the limbs - since they were 15-years-old. They have no money to seek treatment.
"Doctors at the district headquarters hospital couldn't cure the disease. I have already spent all my money for their treatment. I don't have the means to consult renowned physicians outside the state and even in the SCB Medical College at Cuttack. Nobody is coming forward to help me," Hakimuddin had earlier told IANS.
He and his wife have worked as daily wage laborers and managed to make ends meet for their seven-member family. Hakimuddin has so far dutifully looked after his three disabled sons.
He applied for mercy deaths as despite repeated requests, neither government officials nor local political leaders did anything for his family.
"In my letter to the President of India, prime minister and Orissa chief minister, I have urged them to take responsibility for my sons or else allow us to end our lives," Hakimuddin had said.
Meanwhile, his sons have been given shelter by a voluntary organisation called CRS and will undergo preliminary treatment there.
"We will provide wheelchairs to the three physically challenged youths and appoint a physiotherapist for their treatment to control further damage to their limbs," said Bhagaban Parida, secretary of CRS.