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India gang-rape victim dies in Singapore

India's police tell Al Jazeera that murder charges will be filed against the gang-rape suspects.
Last Modified: 29 Dec 2012 06:42

Doctors have announced that a young Indian woman who was gang-raped and severely beaten on a bus in India's capital, New Delhi, has died at their Singapore hospital.

A statement by Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital where the 23-year-old victim was being treated said she "died peacefully" early on Saturday.

"We are very sad to report that the patient passed away peacefully at 4.45am [local time] on December 29, 2012," Kelvin Loh, the chief executive of Mount Elizabeth Hospital, said in a statement.

"Despite all efforts by a team of eight specialists in Mount Elizabeth Hospital to keep her stable, her condition continued to deteriorate over these two days," Loh continued.

The statement said her family and officials from the High Commission of India were by her side.

As this developed, Al Jazeera's Divya Gopalan is reporting that India's police will be filing murder charges against the gang-rape suspects. 

Back in Singapore, the hospital said the woman, a paramedic student, had remained in an extremely critical condition since Thursday when she was flown to Singapore from India.

By late Friday, her condition had "taken a turn for the worse" and her vital signs had indicated severe organ failure, the hospital had earlier said.

She had also suffered a heart attack, a lung and abdominal infection and "significant" brain injury, it said.

'Saddened'

After news of her death, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he was deeply "saddened", and pledged to channel emotions surrounding the case into concrete action.

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The case had generated "emotions and energies" among young Indians seeking changes in society, he said in a statement.

"It would be a true homage to her memory if we are able to channel these emotions and energies into a constructive course of action."

T.C.A. Raghavan, the Indian High Commissioner to Singapore, said after her death: "In the end, she succumbed to her injuries because the scale of those injuries was very great.

"The family of course is shattered by this development. At the same time, they realise that the best possible medical attention was provided to her. At the end, it was the scale of her injuries which proved too much for the medical treatment that was provided to her."

Raghavan said the family had expressed a desire for her body to be flown back to India.

"The deceased and her family members will be flown back to India in a chartered aircraft later this afternoon," he said on Saturday.

'Very serious condition'

Al Jazeera's Divya Gopalan, reporting from New Delhi early on Saturday, said: "She has been in hospital since the attack happened on December 16, she has been in hospital in very serious condition... Just a few days ago they said her condition had worsened so they sent her to Singapore for treatment at a hospital that specialises in organ transplants."

The horrific ordeal of the woman galvanised Indians, who have held almost daily demonstrations to demand greater protection from sexual violence, from groping to rape, that impacts thousands of women every day, but which often goes unreported.

The victim and a male friend were traveling in a public bus on December 16 night when they were attacked by six men who raped her and beat them both.

They also inserted the rod in her body, stripped both naked and threw them off the bus on a road. Police have arrested the six attackers.

The attack two weeks ago brought new focus on police and community attitudes toward woman in India. Demonstrators in New Delhi have demanded stronger protections for women and stronger punishment for rapists.

The government has ordered an official inquiry into the attack and promised new laws to protect women as well as stiffer penalties for sex crimes.

It also announced plans to post the photos, names and addresses of convicted rapists on official websites to publicly shame them. The campaign is scheduled to begin in Delhi, which has been dubbed India's "rape capital".

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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