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Indian gang rape: Father of victim reveals heartache as brother blames delays for her death
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PUBLISHED: 04:30 EST, 30 December 2012 | UPDATED: 05:46 EST, 31 December 2012
The brother of the young Indian woman who died after being raped by a gang of men believes she could have survived but the decision to take her to Singapore for life-saving treatment came too late.
Her younger sibling said today that the family believed the 23-year-old would live but a series of preventable infections caught in Delhi led to her death on Saturday.
It comes as a second victim, a 16-year-old girl claims she was raped by a conductor on a Delhi bus the same day as the gang-rape victim died.
Scroll down for video
Children pictured at a protest in Bangalore as a 16-year old claims she was raped in similar circumstances to that of a 23-year-old student who died after being gang-raped on a bus in Delhi
Protesters express anger at the fact that rape is one of India's most common crimes against women. Marital rape is now illegal in India but it is still widespread
In an interview with the Indian Express today, the gang-rape victim's brother also called for the death penalty to be handed down to the perpetrators.
'The fight has just begun. We want all the
accused hanged, and we will fight for that, till the end,' he said.
The trainee physiotherapist was flown to the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore four days ago - almost two weeks after she was raped by a gang of six men on a bus in Delhi.
'She could have been saved perhaps, but
the decision came late,' her brother said, adding: 'Mount Elizabeth Hospital had very high standards
of hygiene. They could have prevented the infection.'
Tense: The body of a young woman who was gang-raped and brutally beaten on a bus in India's capital was cremated but her family say she could have survived
The woman's body was cremated yesterday after an aircraft chartered by the Indian government brought it back to Delhi from Singapore where she died on Saturday while being treated for severe injuries.
Her horrific ordeal has galvanised Indians to demand greater protection for women from sexual violence with mass demonstrations, candle-lit vigils and street protests with placards, chants and road blocks.
The Indian Congress has put forward plans for chemical castration and 30-year jail terms for all rapists following the attack.
A draft Bill has been put together and will be finalised and handed to India's chief justice by the end of January.
Meanwhile the victim's father has described his final conversation with his daughter in the Intensive Care Unit in Safdarjung Hospital, Delhi.
'She said, "aap so jao, main bhi ab soungi" (you go to sleep, I will also sleep). Then she embraced my hand and slept as a tear dropped from the corner of her eye. Those were her last words to me. Thereafter, she never gained consciousness and didn't talk to any of us,' he said.
Her mother was taken to hospital yesterday after collapsing while her daughter was being cremated.
It has also emerged that the planned to marry her boyfriend, who was injured in the same attack, according to her neighbours.
Aware: The body was cremated amid tight security, police said
Her brother paid tribute to her and her partner's bravery in the vicious attack.
'She was very strong. She always said one should never bear atrocities but fight against it. While she was admitted in hospital, she told me that she fought back as hard as she could. She was defending herself by beating and biting them.
'She thrashed them and kicked them too. They were boiling in anger by her defence so they decided to kill her. She told me that they were murmuring 'maar do ise' (kill her). They threw her considering she was dead.
Poignant: White lilies could be seen in the back of the ambulance as the body was transported through the city
'The boy was equally courageous like my sister. She told me that he guarded her until he became unconscious.'
The girl and her boyfriend had spent the evening watching The Life of Pi at a multiplex in the Saket district of Delhi when they were attacked on the bus home on December 16.
It is thought he defended his girlfriend after she was initially verbally abused by a group of six men.
They were then imprisoned on the bus by a gang for around an hour as it was driven around Delhi.
Their brutal assaults were hidden from view by the closed curtains on the bus.
She was also abused with a rod, which
left her with horrific internal injuries. The pair were eventually
hurled naked from the vehicle as it was still moving.
Rituals: After the body arrived at the airport, it was taken to the woman's New Delhi home, where police stood guard outside, for religious rituals before being escorted by police to the crematorium
'They had made all the wedding preparations and had planned a wedding party in Delhi,' a neighbour told NDTV.
'We know that she was going to get married in February,' she said. 'The whole neighbourhood was excited about it.'
Today's private ceremony took place with Indian riot policemen standing guard outside the cremation centre in New Delhi.
Fearing the unrest amidst the public anger, the location and timing of the cremation was not disclosed, but it was held soon after the arrival of her body from Singapore on a special Air-India flight.
Her distraught mother collapsed and was admitted to Safdarjung Hospital after her daughter's body was taken away.
Premier Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, head of the ruling Congress party, were at the airport to receive the body and meet family members of the victim who had also arrived on the flight.
Tragic: The body of the young woman is moved into the funeral home by workers where she was embalmed before being flown home
Coffin: The casket at a funeral home in Singapore which carried the body of the 23-year-old gang-rape victim
After the body arrived at the
airport, it was taken to the woman's home in New Delhi for religious
rituals before being escorted by police to the crematorium.
Security was tight, with no access to the public or media at the crematorium.
Sheila Dikshit, the senior elected leader of New Delhi, and junior home minister R.P.N. Singh placed wreaths beside the body before it was cremated.
Details about the girl's identity have not been released to protect the family.
But The Hindustan Times newspaper described her as a dedicated student who tutored neighbours’ children to boost her family’s income
The parents had sold a plot of land nearby as well as land in their village in Ballia district of eastern Uttar Pradesh to fund their daughter's education.
'Now her elder brother, who is preparing for his engineering entrance exams, has no hope to continue his studies. The family had depended on her future career to see them out of their poverty,' a neighbour called Vimla told IANS.
Solace: An Indian activist prays as she takes part in a candlelight vigil in Kolkata for the gang-rape victim
Candles: Indian people light candles to pay tributes to the 23-year-old in Bhopal, India
Indian police have charged six men
with murder in the December 16 attack, which shocked the country and
triggered protests for greater protection for women from sexual
The six suspects face the death penalty if convicted, in a case that has triggered protests across India and raised questions about lax attitudes by police toward sexual crimes.
After 10 days at a hospital in New Delhi, the victim, who has not been identified, was taken on Thursday to Singapore's Mount Elizabeth hospital, which specialises in multi-organ transplants.
Sad: Undertakers and hospital staff carry the body of the Indian rape victim into a van as they leave Mount Elizabeth Hospital
Final journey: A police morgue vehicle is parked in front of the Mount Elizabeth hospital in Singapore to retrieve the body
Riot gear: Indian policewomen stand guard at a checkpoint following the death of the gang-rape victim
Staff at Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital said she had died peacefully of multiple organ failure after suffering a heart attack.
‘Despite all efforts by a team of eight specialists to keep her stable, her condition continued to deteriorate,’ Dr Kelvin Loh, the hospital’s chief executive officer added.
had suffered from severe organ failure following serious injuries to
her body and brain. She was courageous in fighting for her life for so
long against the odds but the trauma to her body was too severe for her
Indian High Commissioner, to Singapore T.C.A. Raghanvan told reporters that the scale of the
injuries she suffered was 'very grave' and in the end it 'proved too
Doctors initially expected the woman to die quickly. She developed gangrene in her intestines and had to have most of them removed.
Galvanised: Indians watch a girl paint a message during a protest against her attack death
Indian protesters hold candles during a rally in New Delhi. Leaders appealed for calm and security forces headed off fresh unrest by turning the city into a fortress
A group of men lie on the floor as part of the anti rape protests in New Dellhi. Police threw a ring of steel around the centre of the Indian capital after news of the 23-year-old medical student's death
But the medical student defied their expectations. She had three surgeries and was attempting to walk.
Unable to speak she scribbled notes to her family and those who were caring for her.
‘I want to live’ she wrote. But as she fought for life, public fury grew.
Following her death, thousands of Indians lit candles, held prayer meetings and marched through various cities and towns, including New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata, to express their grief and demand stronger protection for women and the death penalty for rape, which is now punishable by a maximum of life imprisonment.
The Times of India have given the woman the name Nirbhaya – meaning fearless one.
After mass demonstrations,officers
in Delhi had sealed off all roads which lead to the central India Gate,
closed ten metro stations and deployed thousands of officers. One officer died in the protests.
VIDEO Protesters vow to continue fight as gang-rape victim is cremated
Protest: A woman has her mouth taped during a rally to mourn the gang rape victim in New Delhi
Anger: Indian police officials stand alert behind a barricade which covered by a banner calling for capital punishment against rape in New Delhi
The capital has been rocked by protests for days with calls for the government to crack down on crimes against women.
Some demonstrators called for the woman’s attackers to be hanged.
Gatherings of more than five people have been banned in the city centre.
During the days of protests, reports reveal more than 100 people and about 70 officers have been hurt.
Mourning: A protester with a taped mouth displays a moving placard during the rally
Statement: Indian High Commissioner to Singapore, T.C.A. Raghavan speaks to reporters about the death of a young Indian woman
Scene: People walk through the entrance of the Mount Elizabeth hospital in Singapore where a victim of a horrific rape died last night
Police have used batons, teargas and water cannon to try and disperse the demonstrators after the authorities attempted to limit the public gatherings.
Women face daily harassment across
India, ranging from catcalls on the streets, groping and touching in
public transport, to rape.
The incident has forced India to confront the reality that sexually-assaulted women are often blamed for the crime, forcing them to keep quiet and discouraging them from reporting it to authorities for fear of exposing their families to ridicule.
A commuter signs a board in protest against the gang rape. Police have arrested six people in connection with the attack and they are all remanded in custody
A protester with hands coloured in fake blood holds a candle during a protest campaign by Youth Congress against the gang rape of the student
Concern: Members of the top organ transplant medical team accompanied the gang rape victim to Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore
Police often refuse to accept complaints from those who are courageous enough to report the rapes, and the rare prosecutions that reach courts drag on for years.
The tragic events has lead the woman chief minister of India's West Bengal state Mamata Banerjee, unveiled plans today for 65 all-female police stations.
Prime minister Mr Singh said
yesterday that he was aware of the emotions the attack has stirred,
adding that it was up to all Indians to ensure that the young woman's
death will not have been in vain.
State of the art: transplant facilities at the Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre in Singapore, where the gang-rape victim underwent treatment, are said to be among the best in the world
Outrage: Indian students protesting today in Kolkata against the treatment of women following the recent gang-rape of a young woman in a moving bus in New Delhi
The outcry over the attack caught the government off-guard and it was slow to react. It took a week for Singh to make a statement, infuriating many protesters who saw it as a sign of a government insensitive to the plight of women.
Ms Gandhi, the ruling party chief,
assured the protesters in a statement that the rape victim's death
'deepens our determination to battle the pervasive, the shameful social
attitudes and mindset that allow men to rape and molest women and girls
with such an impunity'.
Ganguly, South Asia director of Human Rights Watch, said the woman's
death was a sobering reminder of the widespread sexual violence in
Anger: Despite calls for calm, protestors and police have been involved in violent clashes which have continued more than a week-and-a-half
Silent protest: Sex workers, lesbian and gay protestors held a silent march today as people feel too little is being done by police and authorities to protect them
Vigil: Candles were lit in Delhi as silent protestors stood displaying placards, banners and posters
'The outrage now
should lead to law reform that criminalises all forms of sexual
assault, strengthens mechanisms for implementation and accountability,
so that the victims are not blamed and humiliated,' Ganguly said.
Singh said he understood the angry reaction to the attack and he hoped
all Indians would work together to make appropriate changes.
would be a true homage to her memory if we are able to channel these
emotions and energies into a constructive course of action,' he said.
Attitudes by Indians toward rape are so entrenched that even politicians and opinion-makers have often suggested that women should not go out at night or wear clothes that might be seen as provocative.
Peaceful: Protestors want the government to take action to improve safety for women in India
A statement issued by United Nations spokesman Martin Nesirky said UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon 'offers his sincerest condolences' to the victim's family and 'utterly condemns this brutal crime'.
against women must never be accepted, never excused, never tolerated,'
the statement said. 'Every girl and woman has the right to be respected,
valued and protected.'
Mr Ban urged the Indian government to take steps to deter such crimes and bring perpetrators to justice, and to 'strengthen critical services for rape victims', the statement said.
New Delhi: Activists of the All-India Democratic Women's Association and YWCA students take part in a protest march from Rashtrapati Bhawan to India gate against the gangrape of a girl, in New Delhi
Clashes: Police have been criticised for using heavy handed tactics against demonstrators who are demanding better protection of women following the brutal bus gang rape
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.
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.
Brutal attack: The 23-year-old student was assaulted on a moving bus and has now died from her injuries
The young victim was transferred to a hospital in Singapore but unfortunately doctors reported she died 'peacefully'
Her horrific ordeal has galvanised Indians to demand greater protection for women from sexual violence with mass demonstrations, candle-lit vigils and street protests with placards, chants and road blocks. One policeman has died in the protests.
Her death 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
The six suspects have all been remanded in custody and two police officers suspended.
In response to the protests, the Indian government has promising to make public the photographs, names and addresses of convicted rapists.
Solidarity: Students take out a candlelight march in support of the gang rape victim in the Capital on Wednesday
Medics' protest: Medical workers protester at LNJP hospital against the recent gang-rape of a young woman in a moving bus in New Delhi
Angered: A protester against the recent gang-rape of a young woman in a moving bus in New Delhi
Death sentence: Indian students are among those calling for the death penalty for those found guilty of the brutal gang-rape