Sukumaran is on cloud nine as his gesture is going to save one’s life. Locked up in the isolated, dark room of the prison, he always wanted to extend his helping hand to the needy. Now, his dream came true as he geared up to donate one of his kidneys to a 21-year-old woman.
The turning point
Life went upside down when he murdered his uncle accidentally out of anger. Sukumaran along with some of the locals opposed his uncle’s (father’s brother) move to install a mobile tower in the area. A row sparked there and Sukumaran hit his uncle during the scuffle since he couldn’t control his anger and his uncle died. Sukumaran was sentenced to life-term imprisonment in 2007 by a fast-track court in Palakkad and was transferred to Kannur Central Jail. Later, he was transferred to the open jail in Thiruvananthapuram.
As far as Sukumaran is concerned, his prison term was a period of repentance and reflection. “I had taken one life, and I wanted to give someone a new life,” Sukumaran told The Logical Indian.
The failed attempt
When Sukumaran was out on parole in 2015, he came to know about Sreekumar, a young man who was in need of a kidney transplant. Sukumaran had undergone all the tests and the result came out positive. But, he couldn’t donate his kidney since there were legal issues for a prisoner to donate his organs. Sreekumar died.
Since then, he wrote letters to jail authorities and government officials frequently seeking to remove the legal barriers for prisoners to donate the organs.
A Kerala High Court judge reduced Sukumaran’s imprisonment for seven years and he was released in July 2017. He happened to read an article on Arya Maharshi and his wife who donated their kidney on the same day and entered Limca Book of Records as the first couple to donate their kidneys free of cost. He came to know about Dr Uma Preman who runs Santi Medical Information Centre which provides free dialysis check-ups. Sukumaran wrote a letter to her seeking if there was any chance to donate his kidney. He came to know about Princy, a 21-year-old girl from a financially weak background who was in want of kidney transplantation.
“He is like my father”
The Logical Indian contacted Princy and she told that Sukumaran was like her father. “I was very happy when I came to know about his readiness to donate one of his kidneys which will give a new life for me,” she said. She added that Sukumaran always came an hour early for check-ups and looked after her like a daughter.
Princy hails from a family with a history of kidney disorders. She lost her mother and two of her uncles because of kidney failure.
The organ transplantation will take place at Medical Trust Hospital, Kochi and she will be admitted later this month. The surgery is quite expensive which costs Rs 15 lakhs. Since Princy’s family can not afford it, his neighbours and ward councillors are now collecting funds to finance her.
Sukumaran’s role in the making of a landmark law
In January 2018, Kerala cabinet passed a landmark law allowing prisoners to donate their organs to their family members. Until then Kerala prison rules only allowed blood donation. Sukumaran’s role was vital in this decision as he knocked the doors of officials many times. “Now prisoner’s can donate their organs only to their family members as per the provisions of the law. But, I want the law to be widened furthermore allowing the inmates of the jail to donate their organs to anyone,” Sukumaran said.
Sukumaran, hailing from Pattambi in Ernakulam district, Kerala earns his living through welding work. His elder daughter is married and son is doing aluminium fabrication works. “Even though my family members were little anxious, I convinced them. After getting all the awareness class and counselling, they are now extending their full support. 18 other prisoners in the jail have expressed their willingness to donate their organs after the government has made this law,” he added.