SINGAPORE/NEW DELHI: After battling for life for 13 days, the 23-year-old Delhi girl, who was gangraped in a bus, died in Singapore early Saturday morning leading to a massive outpouring of grief across India as she was hailed as “daughter of the nation”.
The girl, who was admitted to the well-known multi-organ transplant facility Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Singapore, on Thursday morning in an extremely critical condition, breathed her last at 4:45 a.m. (2:15 a.m. India time). She was earlier treated at the Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi.
Six suspects involved in the rape and brutal assault on her would now be tried for murder charges, which involves death penalty in rarest of rare cases.
The body of the victim, accompanied by her family, was flown by a special Air India chartered aircraft AIC-380A to Delhi around 12:30 a.m. local time (10:00 PM IST), Indian High Commission officials said.
The mortal remains may be taken straight to her home town of Ballia in Uttar Pradesh in keeping with the family’s wishes for a private funeral on Sunday morning.
“We are very sad to report that the patient passed away peacefully at 4.45 a.m. on 29 Dec 2012 (Singapore time),” the hospital’s chief executive officer, Dr Kelvin Loh said in a statement.
“Her family and officials from the High Commission of India were by her side. The Mount Elizabeth Hospital team of doctors, nurses and staff join her family in mourning her loss,” the statement said.
As an outraged nation empathised with the gang-rape victim, peace marches and candle light vigil were taken out across India while heart of New Delhi — India Gate and Raisina Hill — was shut down for protesters.
Death for rapists and stringent laws to deal with aggravated sexual assault were a common demand by the women and men across India who identified themselves with the victim and the family.
The President, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, the Vice-President, Mr Hamid Ansari, th Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, the Congress chief, Ms Sonia Gandhi, and a host of political leaders condoled the death of the girl and hailed the brave fight the victim put up against the bestial elements who assaulted her.
The Indian High Commissioner, Mr T C A Raghavan told reporters that the family was yet to decide on the plans for the last rites back home. The family has requested that their privacy be respected in their hour of grief, he said.
He said the girl fought a brave battle till the end and that the final few hours was a trying time for the girl’s family. They bore the entire process with a great deal of fortitude and courage, he said.
The distraught family of the young gang-rape victim hopes her death will contribute to making India a safer place for woman, Mr Raghavan said. He said the family was “deeply affected” by the death of the woman.
But the family was also moved by a large number of messages of support they had received from everywhere, Mr Raghavan told the media.
“They hope that the death of their child will lead to a better future for women in Delhi and India,” he quoted them as saying.
The President led India in mourning the death of the girl and described her as the “brave daughter of India” and that all steps to bring the perpetrators of this “ghastly crime” to justice should be taken.
“She was a brave and courageous girl who fought till the very last minute for her dignity and her life. She is a true hero and symbolises the best in Indian youth and women… The nation will mourn the passing of this brave daughter of India,” the President said in his condolence message.
The Prime Minister expressed the hope that the entire political class and civil society will set aside narrow sectional interests and agenda to make India a demonstrably safer place to live in.
The Congress president said the fight of nation’s “beloved daughter” will not go in vain, promising “swift and fitting punishment” to perpetrators as well as stringent laws for women protection.
In New Delhi, the police invoked murder charges against the six men allegedly involved in the gang-rape and said it will be their endeavour to ensure the “harshest punishment in the book” to the culprits.
“We hope to file the charge-sheet by the 3rd of January 2013. Section 302 of IPC, which is the penal section for murder, has been added in the case,” Mr Dharmendra Kumar, special commissioner of police (law and order), said.
The autopsy of the victim was done by a Singaporean medical team and the report will be made available to investigators at the earliest.