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Rape victim dies; stirs India's soul

New Delhi/Singapore, Dec 29 , 2012, DHNS:

Mourning braveheart: Massive outpouring of grief, anger across the country

People hold candle light vigil to pay homage to the Delhi gang rape victim, in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI Photo

India woke up to the shocking news on Saturday morning of the death of the
23-year-old woman who was brutally gang-raped and tortured here 13 days ago.

The gang-rape victim passed away after a valiant fight against death in a Singapore hospital, stirring the conscience of her motherland which had erupted in protest against the brutal attack.

The physiotherapy student, who had been in critical condition ever since the incident took place on December 16, breathed her last at 2:15 am (IST) at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore, where she was shifted on December 26. With that the entire India, which poured its heart out to the victim and prayed for her recovery, went into mourning.

The physiotherapy student, who was raped by half a dozen men and tortured in a moving bus, was to be brought to Delhi by a special flight at 2:30 am on Sunday.

The government, which sent the woman to Singapore for treatment, did not disclose the details of the last rites. Informed sources said the funeral would take place in Delhi.
The girl’s parents were by her side when the end came. “She remained serious. I wasn’t expecting her to go so soon,” Dr Yatin Mehta, who had flown with her to Singapore,

Announcing the death, the hospital bulletin noted: “We are very sad to report that the patient passed away peacefully at 4:45 am (Singapore time) on December 29, 2012. The Mount Elizabeth Hospital team of doctors, nurses and staff join her family in mourning her loss.”

The battered woman was admitted to Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital on the night of December 16 in a critical condition. Doctors conducted three surgeries to remove the victim's intestines, susceptible to gangrene. She suffered cardiac arrest on December 25 after which, in a controversial move, she was airlifted to Singapore.

The woman was admitted to hospital in Singapore “in an unconscious state,” Dr Yatin Mehta, Chairman, Institute of Critical Care and Anaesthesiology at Medanta Medicity, told Deccan Herald. Immediately on admission, brain injury was noticed and scanning was done. Dr Mehta, one of the two doctors to have flown with the girl in an air ambulance, added: “Brain injury is an important cause for the death. She suffered a cardiac arrest at Safdarjung Hospital on Tuesday. This could have caused the brain injury and she also suffered from multi-organ failure.”

The victim could not come out of complications in brain along with multi-organ failure. Dr Kelvin Loh, Chief Executive Officer, Mount Elizabeth Hospital, observed: “The patient had remained in an extremely critical condition since admission to Mount Elizabeth Hospital in the morning of December 27.

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. She had suffered from severe organ failure following serious injuries to her body and brain. She was courageous in fighting for her life for so long against the odds but the trauma to her body was too severe for her to overcome.”

Ever since the morning of December 17, in an unprecedented show of anger against the police and the government for lack of protection to women, students and women’s organisations had been thronging the streets across the country, mainly in Delhi.

When the news of the gang-rape victim’s death spread, many protesters, this time mourning, returned to the streets, not only in Delhi but also in many other cities. In an early morning move, the government made the entire India Gate area out of bounds for agitators. It also closed down all Metro stations around the area.

The region consisting of the India Gate, Vijay Chowk and Raisina Hill was the scene of protests where demonstrators were lathi-charged and a police constable lost his life. The main protest on Saturday was restricted to the Jantar Mantar area although groups of people carried out marches elsewhere in the capital.

Dec 16

The woman and her male friend board a bus at Munirka in South Delhi. Inside the moving bus, she is gang-raped, tortured, stripped and thrown out. They are spotted by toll plaza patrol andadmitted to Safdarjung Hospital

Dec 17

Police arrest bus driver Ram Singh and two other accused

Dec 18

Fourth accused held. A large number of people gather at the India Gate demanding justice for the woman

Dec 19

Doctors remove woman’s intestines susceptible to gangrene even as protests continue

Dec 20

Friend identifies one of the accused in Tihar jail

Dec 21

Woman’s condition worsens; hundreds take out candle-light march. Police nab fifth and sixth accused. The next day, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde announces commission of inquiry. Raisina Hill shut down as protests spread

Dec 23

Protest area turns into a battle zone as police and protesters clash, leaving many injured, including Constable Subhash Chand Tomar

Dec 24

Two police officers suspended for not stopping the bus with tinted glass windows in which the woman was raped. Protesters block roads. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addresses the nation, ppeals for calm

Dec 25

Constable Tomar succumbs to injuries

Dec 26

Woman flown to Singapore. Government asks a Delhi High Court judge to probe the gang-rape and police lapses 

Dec 27

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh promises quick justice. Woman’s condition remains critical

Dec 28

Victim dies in Singapore; Delhi erupts in fresh protests; police barricade city centre in Delhi

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