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Delhi gang rape victim dies; nation mourns, Delhi on high alert

Saturday, 29 December 2012 - 8:00am IST | Agency: Agencies

The 23-year-old braveheart, who was gang-raped and brutally assaulted in a Delhi bus nearly a fortnight ago, succumbed to her injuries and died at a hospital in Singapore early Saturday

At about 3.21 am on Saturday the super speciality hospital in Singapore announced the death of the 23-year-old gang rape victim.

Hospital chief executive Kelvin Loh told the BBC that she had passed away due to multi organ failure due to "serious injuries to her body and her brain.". He also added that "she was courageous" in fighting for her life for so long" against the odds "but the trauma to her body was too severe."

According to hospital authorities she had been sinking ever since she had arrived in Singapore. In fact the doctors in Delhi, who had been attending to her told DNA on the request of anonymity that shifting her had led to further trauma to her. The journey haad proved to be hazardous and she had suffered another seizure in the special aircraft while enroute to Singapore.

On December 26, she had suffered two cardiac arrests and Dr Naresh Trehan had been rushed to Safdarjung Hospital secretly to assess her condition. She had started having multi-organ failure and an infection to her brain had started spreading.

Doctors also told DNA that she had been put on a ventilator as soon as she landed in Singapore as her capacity to breathe on her own had collapsed.  The Indian High Commission alerted its superiors in New Delhi at 3.30 am as soon as the news was officially communicated to them. According to the Singapore hospital officials the girl's family was with her when she breathed her last.

The Delhi Police immediately announced strict measures to restrict movement out of fear that protests would erupt. In fact, the union cabinet had decided to fly her out of Delhi after spontaneous protests broke out in the heart of Delhi. Last week had seen several surges of protests when protesters marched to South and North Block that houses the Prime Minister's Office and the union home ministry as well as Rashtrapati Bhawan.

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All roads leading to India Gate, Rajpat and Vijaychowk, where violent clashes broke out over the last weekend in the wake of the brutal assault, were barricaded, have been closed. The Delhi Police tightened security across the national capital on Saturday as soon as the news of the death of the victim reached. 

The Delhi traffic police posted a tweet early this morning: "Entire central Vista including Rajpath, Vijay Chowk and all road leading to India Gate will be closed for general traffic, Kamal Attaturk Marg also closed. All travellers (sic) are advised to avoid these roads.." 

10 metro stations have been closed. These include Rajiv Chowk, Barakhambha Road, Mandi House, Pragati Maidan, Khan Market, Racecourse, Jor Bagh, Udyog Bhavan and Patel Chowk.

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The Singapore hospital said earlier that the woman had suffered "significant brain injury" and was surviving against the odds. She had already undergone three abdominal operations before being flown to Singapore. Protests 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.

New Delhi has been on edge since the weekend clashes. Hundreds of policemen have been deployed on the streets of the capital and streets leading to the main protest site, the India Gate war memorial, have been shut for long periods, severely disrupting traffic in the city of 16 million. 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 the 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. 

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