The Indian woman who was gang-raped on a bus in New Delhi earlier this month has ‘taken a turn for the worse’ and believed to be suffering from severe organ failure, doctors have said.
The 23-year old woman was flown to Singapore for treatment at Mount Elizabeth hospital which specialises in multi-organ transplant on Thursday, 10 days after she was brutally attacked by six men who inserted an iron rod into her body on Dec. 16.
It comes as another rape victim in India is believed to have committed suicide after police took 14 days to register her case and a further 30 days to make an arrest.
Earlier today doctors reported that the gang-rape student was already ‘struggling against the odds following a heart attack, a lung and abdominal infection and significant brain injury.’
But by late Friday, the young woman’s condition had ‘taken a turn for the worse’ and her vital signs had deteriorated with indications of severe organ failure, said Dr. Kelvin Loh, the chief executive officer of Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth hospital.
‘This is despite doctors fighting for her life including putting her on maximum artificial ventilation support, optimal antibiotic doses as well as stimulants which maximize her body’s capability to fight infections,’ he said, adding that family members are by her side.
Police have arrested six people in connection with the attack and they are all remanded in custody.
She was travelling in the virtually empty bus with a male friend when they were attacked. The assailants stripped them both after the assault and threw them out on the road.
The Indian government responded to days of violent protest at the attack by promising to make public the photographs, names and addresses of convicted rapists.
While the woman chief minister of India’s West Bengal state Mamata Banerjee, unveiled plans today for 65 all-female police stations.
The Indian prime minister Manmohan Singhsaid: ‘The issue of safety and security of women is of the highest concern to our government.’
India’s Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said in a statement that the government, which is funding and overseeing the victim’s treatment, had decided to send her abroad on the recommendation of her doctors.
‘Despite the best efforts of our doctors, the victim continues to be critical and her fluctuating health remains a big cause of concern to all of us,’ he said.
eanwhile, authorities in India are attempting to stem any further violence from demonstrations that erupted in reaction to the rape.
Police have barricaded streets, blocked metro stations and increased their presence in the city centre of New Delhi.
One police officer has been killed during the protests. A 47-year-old married father of three died after three days’ treatment in hospital, according to news service Al Jazeera
State of the art: transplant facilities at the Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre in Singapore, where the Indian gang-rape victim will undergo treatment, are said to be among the best in the world
He was found on the ground during the protests. Eight people have been arrested and charged in connection with his death.
His relatives, speaking on Al Jazeera, blame ‘the people’ for his death.
‘It is the fault of the people. He was only doing his duty and following police orders. But the public attacked him and killed him so the people are responsible,’ one relative said.
Police said an autopsy showed the officer had a heart attack that could have been caused by injuries suffered during violence at the protest.
An Associated Press journalist at the scene said the officer was running toward the protesters with a group of police when he collapsed on the ground and began frothing at the mouth and shaking. The journalist said two protesters rushed to the officer to try to help him.
Peaceful: Protestors want the government to take action to improve safety for women in India
As news of the horrific assault reached the public in India, outraged and disgusted civilians took to the streets in protest.
Across the country there have been demonstrations, including candle-lit vigils and street protests with placards, chants and road blocks.
During the days of protests, reports reveal more than 100 people and about 70 officers have been hurt.
Police have used batons, teargas and water cannon to try and disperse the demonstrators after the authorities attempted to limit the public gatherings.
The Government has faced criticism for the use of force against protesters, the failure to implement laws to protect women in India’s ‘rape capital’ and for how slow it has been to respond to the strength of feeling.
But it looks like there is no end in sight for the demonstrations, however, as another march took place today in the city.
Those taking part were demanding a government crackdown on the daily harassment Indian women face, ranging from groping to severe violence.
Protesters demanding safer public transportation for women and the resignation of Delhi’s police commissioner tried to march to the major India Gate traffic circle in central Delhi before being stopped by police in riot gear manning barricades.
Protesters carried signs reading, ‘Immediately end rape culture in India’ and ‘Zero tolerance of violence against women’.
Rape victims rarely press charges because of social stigma and fear they will be accused of inviting the attack. Many women say they structure their lives around protecting themselves and their daughters from attack.
Some protesters have called for the death penalty or castration for rapists, who under current laws face a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pledged today to take action to protect the nation’s women.
Singh’s government set up two committees in response to the protests. One, looking into speeding up sexual assault trials, has already received 6,100 email suggestions. The second will examine what lapses might have contributed to the rape – which took place on a moving bus that passed through police checkpoints – and suggest measures to improve women’s safety.
‘Let me state categorically that the issue of safety and security of women is of the highest concern to our government,’ Singh said at a development meeting. He urged officials in India’s states to pay special attention to the problem.
‘There can be no meaningful development without the active participation of half the population, and this participation simply cannot take place if their security and safety is not assured,’ he said.
Medics’ protest: Medical workers protester at LNJP hospital against the recent gang-rape of a young woman in a moving bus in New Delhi
Singh previously came under fire for remaining largely silent after the rape. He issued a statement for the first time on Sunday – a week after the crime.
The horrific sexual assault, which took place on a bus on December 16, in New Delhi, lasted 40 minutes, according to the Gulfnews.com, which states the men involved allegedly tricked the woman to board the bus.
B.D. Athani, the medical superintendent of Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi, where the woman had been treated, said she suffered severe intestinal and abdominal injuries, underwent three surgeries and had parts of her intestines removed, according to the Press Trust of India.
‘With fortitude and courage, the girl survived the after-effects of the injuries so far well. But the condition continues to be critical,’ he was quoted as saying.