Twin Test for Telangana Authorities as Conjoined Sisters Prepare for Class 10 Exams
Government officials face a number of hurdles in facilitating 17-year-old Veena and Vani, who are fused at the skulls.
Twin sisters Veena and Vani.
Hyderabad: All their life, Veena and Vani have been inseparable: in body and mind. And as the conjoined twin sisters from Telangana – who have been tested every moment so far because of their extraordinary condition – prepare together for the Secondary School Certificate (Class 10) examinations in 2020, authorities find themselves baffled by a range of questions on how to make it happen. Where will they sit for the exams? Should they be issued one hall ticket or two? Will they write the exams separately or together?
The sisters are craniopagus twins: they are fused at the skulls, but have separate brains. The girls were born in 2002 to Murali and Nagalakshmi from Beerishettigudem village of Mahabubabad district. From childhood, they were receiving treatment at Niloufer Hospital in Hyderabad. In January 2017, they were shifted to a state home, run by the women’s development and child welfare department, in the city. Their parents said they were poor labourers and unable to take care of the children with the unique condition.
Over the years, medical and surgical experts from India, the United Kingdom and Singapore examined the girls on several occasions in a bid to find a way to separate them. It was estimated that the complex procedure would cost around Rs 10 crore. The parents had urged the Telangana government to help. However, in 2016, doctors from Delhi’s prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) determined that the risk factors in separating the twins included them becoming comatose, crippled for life and dying on the operation table, as intricate neurological veins were tangled up between the two.
The Telangana government has made special arrangements for their education and they are tutored at the state home.
“We are preparing for the examinations and can write them based on the decision of the government. But we want to write separately. We are doing well in all the subjects,” Veena and Vani said in an interview.
The district education officer has written a letter to the government, seeking permission and clarity on how to assist the girls. According to rules, students from the open school system who want to write the examinations need to enroll themselves in any government or private school. So, accordingly, Veena and Vani were enlisted with admission numbers 5618 and 5619 in a government high school in Vengal Rao Nagar, Hyderabad after evaluating their knowledge and capabilities. But their sternest test lies ahead.
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