Veena and Vani, conjoined twins from Telangana, are set to write their SSC or 10th class board examinations later in March this year. Veena and Vani are children of M Murali and Nagalakshmi from Beerishettygudem of Mahabubabad.
The twins, who recieved special tuition, were coached by teachers deputed by the Education Department at the state home in Hyderabad where they currently live. Born in 2003 with their heads conjoined, Veena and Vani's lives have been followed ardently by the media and people of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Initially, district education authorities were unsure whether to consider the girls as one or two individuals when it came to giving them hall tickets for the examination. It has now been decided that Veena and Vani will be treated as two individuals and both will take separate exams.
Venkata Narasamma, District Education Officer (DEO) speaking to TNM, said, "Initially, given the rarity of the case, we had approached the state government with the matter. Official clearance was given to consider Veena and Vani's wishes and allow them the choice."
She further added, "Now, we are making arrangements to make them write exams separately."
The DEO also said that if there was a necessity for any additional assistance such as a scribe to transcribe answers or a change in location, this would be decided keeping in mind the interests of the students.
Veena and Vani were shifted from the Niloufer Hospital to a state home when they were 12 years old and have been under the care of the Social Welfare Department since then.
While their parents kept urging the government to organise their surgery, estimated around Rs 10 crores, medical experts were divided on it. Several domestic and international medical experts who studied the situation had differing takes on the complications that may arise following a surgery to separate them.
In 2015, Dr. David Dunaway and Dr. Owase Jeelani, medical experts from London, examined the girls and opined that there was an 80 percent chance of survival following surgery.
Doctors further explained that the procedure would be divided into five separate surgeries, and may take around six to 12 months. According to them, the twins share an important blood vessel and seperating it is where the risk lies.
While the Telangana state government expressed interest in bearing the expenses for the surgery in 2015, AIIMS doctors who examined the girls, said that they needed more time to study complications in the surgery.