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Indian gang-rape victim dies in Singapore hospital


A young woman who was gang-raped and brutally beaten in the Indian capital of New Delhi has died, the hospital treating her in Singapore reported Friday.


The Indian gang-rape victim whose assault in New Delhi triggered nationwide protests has died, the Singapore hospital treating her said on Saturday.

New Delhi's top police officer and chief minister on Saturday urged people to mourn the death of a gang-rape victim in a peaceful manner as large parts of the city-centre were sealed off.

Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar asked people to maintain calm across the city, according to a statement from his office which also announced that the area around the India Gate monument and 10 metro stations would be closed to the public.

New Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit also appealed for calm and pledged "solid steps will be taken very soon" to protect women in India's capital.

Source: AFP

"We are very sad to report that the patient passed away peacefully at 4.45 a.m. on Dec 29, 2012 (1645 GMT Friday). Her family and officials from the High Commission of India were by her side," Mount Elizabeth Hospital Chief Executive Officer Kelvin Loh said in a statement.

After 10 days at a New Delhi hospital, the 23-year-old victim was flown to Singapore on Thursday for treatment at the Mount Elizabeth hospital, which specialises in multi-organ transplant. 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.

She had earlier suffered a heart attack, a lung and abdominal infection and `'significant'' brain injury, according to the hospital.

Most rapes and other sex crimes in India go unreported and offenders are rarely punished, women’s rights activists say. But the brutality of the assault on Dec. 16 triggered public outrage and demands for both better policing and harsher punishment for rapists.

Pressure not to report rape

Indian authorities have been accused of belittling rape victims and refusing to file cases against their attackers, further deterring victims - already under societal pressure to keep the assaults quiet - from reporting the crimes.

The schocking case has received blanket media coverage across the globe. The woman was not identified but some Indian media have called her “Amanat”, an Urdu word meaning “treasure”.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government has been battling criticism that it was tone-deaf to the outcry and heavy-handed in its response to the protests in the Indian capital.

Slowly lifting the taboo of rape in India

Demonstrations over the lack of safety for women erupted across India after the attack, culminating last weekend in pitched battles between police and protesters in the heart of New Delhi.

The woman's death could trigger new protests and possibly fresh confrontations with the police, especially in the Indian capital, which has been the focus of the demonstrations.

Political commentators and sociologists say the rape has tapped into a deep well of frustration that many Indians feel over what they see as weak governance and poor leadership on social and economic issues.

Many protesters have complained that Singh’s government has done little to curb the abuse of women in the country of 1.2 billion. A global poll by Thomson Reuters Foundation in June found that India was the worst place to be a woman because of high rates of infanticide, child marriage and slavery.

New Delhi has the highest number of sex crimes among India’s major cities, with a rape reported on average every 18 hours, according to police figures. Government data show the number of reported rape cases in the country rose by nearly 17 percent between 2007 and 2011.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

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