x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Indian rape victim's condition takes 'turn for the worse'

The 23-year-old victim of a gang rape in Delhi is fighting for her life in a Singapore hospital.

SINGAPORE // The condition of the victim of a gang rape in New Delhi took "a turn for the worse" yesterday, with doctors reporting signs of sever organ failure.

Doctors at the Mount Elizabeth Hospital said the 23-year-old was battling an infection in her lungs and was critically ill after the December 16 assault.

"Her vital signs are deteriorating with signs of severe organ failure," Dr Kelvin Loh, Mount Elizabeth's chief executive officer, said.

"This is despite doctors fighting for her life including putting her on maximum artificial ventilation support, optimal antibiotic doses as well as stimulants which maximise her body's capability to fight infections."

On Thursday night, the hospital revealed that the woman, who is a student in Delhi, had undergone "three abdominal surgeries and experienced a cardiac arrest in India" as it gave the first detailed rundown of her condition.

She had been treated in Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital since she was thrown off a bus in the capital after six men raped her at the back of the vehicle.

She also suffered severe intestinal injuries as a result of being assaulted with an iron bar.

The decision to fly her in an air ambulance was taken at a meeting of the prime minister Manmohan Singh's cabinet on Wednesday. The government has promised to pay all her medical bills.

The home minister, Sushilkumar Shinde, said the government's only concern was to ensure the victim received "the best treatment possible".

Police have arrested six people in connection with the attack.

"We wish she recovers and comes back to us and that no time is lost in bringing the perpetrators of such a barbaric act to justice," said Sonia Gandhi, head of the ruling Congress Party.

The attack has highlighted police and community attitudes towards woman in India, setting off protests in which demonstrators have demanded more protections for women and more severe punishments for rapists. Indian officials have also been accused of belittling rape victims and refusing to file cases against their attackers.

In India's Punjab state yesterday, authorities fired and suspended policemen accused of ignoring the rape of another woman, who then committed suicide. The 18-year-old victim killed herself by drinking poison on Thursday, a month after telling police she was gang raped.

One officer was suspended and two others fired over accusations they delayed taking action.

The three accused of the rape were arrested on Thursday.

"This is a very sensitive crime, I have taken it very seriously," said Paramjit Singh Gill, a top police officer in the city of Patiala.

The Press Trust of India reported that the woman was raped on November 13 and reported the attack to police on November 27. But police harassed the girl, asked her embarrassing questions and took no action against the accused, PTI reported, citing police sources.

Authorities in the state of Chhattisgarh also suspended a police officer on accusations he refused to register a rape complaint from a woman who said she had been attacked by a driver.

* With additional reporting by Associated Press