SINGAPORE – Doctors in Singapore battled Thursday to save the life of an Indian student who sustained horrific injuries in a gang-rape after she was dramatically airlifted from a hospital in New Delhi.
As India’s prime minister vowed that the attackers of the 23-year-old would face swift justice, medics at Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital described her condition in the intensive care unit as “extremely critical”.
“She is being examined and the hospital is working with the Indian High Commission (embassy),” the hospital added in a brief statement.
The Indian government, which is paying for the woman’s treatment, approved the decision to transfer her from Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital where she had been treated since the December 16 assault on a bus in the center of the capital.
Visa arrangements were also fast-tracked to enable the victim’s relatives to keep watch over her in Singapore.
“Since the day of the incident, it has been our endeavor to provide her the best of medical care,” Indian Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said in a statement, warning that her treatment in Singapore could last many weeks.
“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.”
According to police and prosecutors, six men took turns to rape the woman and assault her with an iron bar, leaving her with intestinal injuries, before they threw her out of a bus that they had taken for a joyride.
While doctors in Singapore did not give details about the treatment she has received since her early morning arrival, their counterparts at Safdarjung said Mount Elizabeth had been chosen as it has a multi-organ transplant facility.
B.D. Athani, medical superintendent at Safdarjung Hospital, told reporters the woman had already undergone three operations in New Delhi.
“With fortitude and courage she has survived the after-effects of the injuries so far, but her condition continues to be critical,” Athani said.
India has been rocked by a wave of protests since the attack, including one in Delhi on Thursday which brought several hundred people onto the streets. Riot police prevented them from marching on government buildings.
The protests have reflected not only the revulsion at the savage nature of the attack but also the simmering anger over the level of violence against women.
Official figures show that 228,650 of the total 256,329 violent crimes recorded last year were against women, with the number of rapes in the capital rising 17 percent to 661 this year.