Aruna Shanbaug: Mumbai rape victim in a coma for 42 years has died

She was strangled with a dog chain and sexually assaulted in 1973

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A Mumbai nurse who had been in a coma since 1973 after a brutal sexual assault left her blind, deaf and in a vegetative state has died, according to hospital authorities.

Aruna Shanbaug, a nurse at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, was strangled with a dog chain and sodomised by ward boy, Sohanlal Bhartha Walmiki in 1973 in the run up to her wedding.

The strangulation cut off the blood supply to her brain cells, causing irreversible damage.

Approximately 42 years after the incident, Ms Shanbaug has now died at the same hospital in which she was attacked, following a bout of pneumonia.

Shanbaug's case previously sparked a debate over India's euthanasia laws after a Mumbai lawyer petitioned the courts to stop hospital workers force-feeding her through a tube.

The case was opposed by nurses at the hospital who took turns taking care of her for more than four decades.

According to The Times of India, Ms Shanbaug’s attacker, was originally charged for murder and the robbery of Shanbaug’s earrings, back in 1974, but not for rape.

Walmiki served six years in prison, after being awarded a seven year sentence.

Additional reporting by Associated Press