When 23-year-old activist Manjot Singh Kohli decided to donate her kidney to her ailing friend Samreen Malik in the summer of this year, little did she know that she had to face a long battle. Five months down the line, Kohli is so angry with the “delaying procedure” of the Sheri Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences Srinagar (SKIMS) that she says she will move the Jammu and Kashmir High Court to settle the case.
“I think this case will not take much time in the High Court as I am a major,” Kolhi told Outlook. “I expect in one hearing the High Court would give decision in the case as any delay will cost life here,” she added.
She says judgments of different courts are clear that any major person in good health can donate her kidney according to her own will.
According to Kohli, in August this year she came to know through social media that Samreen was suffering from kidney failure. “I was shocked. I called Samreen and she confirmed it. I came to Srinagar as her family had brought her here for the treatment,” she said.
Kohli hails from Udhampur district while Samreen is from Rajouri. Kohli after completing her B.A Hons in English from Shimla in 2015 started her social work in Jammu. She also runs an NGO called 'International Anti-Corruption and Human Rights Council'. It is during her work as an activist, she met Samreen who is a graduate from the University of Jammu, and they became good friends. “When I heard about her illness, I realised that I must help her out,” she said.
Samreen’s family members were ready to donate kidney to her but their kidneys didn’t match her. Her mother's kidney was also rejected due to ailments. As Manjot offered her kidney to Samreen, doctors found it a perfect match. However, when when Manjot conveyed her decision to her parents, her father didn’t agree.
“I can understand his anxiety. He is a father and like every father he is worried about his child. But I am a major, I have taken a decision and it is biggest decision of my life,” she said, adding “for girls of my age marriage is a biggest decision of their life but for me Samreen’s life is priority.”
Authorities at the SKIMS have not cleared the case as Kohli’s father has made a representation against her decision. “The institute convey its reservations through the media but they don’t talk to us. I have written to the SKIMS authorities that they should directly communicate to us so that we can approach the court,” said Kohli.
Dr Farooq Jan, Medical Superintendent of SKIMS, says the father of the donor has made a representation against allowing the girl to donate her kidney, adding the authorization committee of the hospital has decided that the case will be decided by the court now.
But Kohli rejects it. “Rajasthan High Court’s recent judgment and other judgements of different courts are explicit about the issue. The family cannot come between in a decision of an adult person about donating kidney for transplant. Besides, I am living separately and I must be allowed to take decision about my body,” says Kohli.
Samreen is overwhelmed by the support from Kohli who is with her for the past five months. She hopes for a better future now and wants to study fashion designing. “We have been friends and sisters and we will be like this always,” she said.
Kohli has won hearts in Kashmir. “Manjot Singh Kohli it is people like you that keep human values and humanity alive and thriving in this world. More power to you,” read a Facebook post. And, there are hundreds of such posts.