She was a 23-year-old physiotherapy student who studied hard and had the dream of someday becoming a doctor, to help others from her humble beginnings. But on 16th December, when she boarded a bus with a male companion after watching “Life of Pi”, her life was cut short.
That dream she had? It never came true.
She and her male companion were attacked by a gang of men for hours as the bus cruised through the streets of the Indian capital last month. It was said that the bus even passed through police checkpoints during the assault. She was battered and raped by the men – they even used an iron bar to assault her, inserting it into her body and causing severe organ damage. After which, both victims were eventually thrown from the moving bus, dumped naked on the side of the road, and left to die.
Her male companion, who was with her throughout the entire horrific ordeal, survived.
She, on the other hand, had to undergo three abdominal operations before being airlifted to Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore for treatment. Upon her arrival, Mount Elizabeth Hospital’s medial team’s investigations showed that she had also had a cardiac arrest, on top of an infection of her lungs and abdomen, as well as significant brain injury. Her condition at that time was described as “extremely critical”.
The woman succumbed to her injuries two weeks later. According to Dr. Kevin Loh (chief executive of Mount Elizabeth hospital):
Despite all efforts by a team of eight specialists in Mount Elizabeth Hospital to keep her stable, her condition continued to deteriorate over these two days. She 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 to overcome. The Mount Elizabeth Hospital team of doctors, nurses and staff join her family in mourning her loss
Five Indian men have been formally charged in court with the gang rape, criminal conspiracy, and murder, with the sixth due to be tried separately in a juvenile court as he’s 18 years old. The accused have admitted to torturing and raping her “to teach her a lesson” because she initially fought back and bit three of them. They’ve also described how it was the 18-year-old suspect’s suggestion to throw the victim’s naked body out of the moving bus.
The details of the crime and the news of the gruesome incident shocked much of India, and the bar association at the court said none of its members are willing to represent the accused. Nobody wants to be their defence lawyer.
Internationally, the case provoked furious protests close to the seat of government in New Delhi and innumerable debate about the prevalence of sexual crime in India, where a rape is reported on average every 20 minutes. Keep in mind that those are just the reported ones. A lot more go unnoticed. The world now questions the Indian government’s inability to prevent violence against women and demands the six men to be hanged as murder carries the death penalty.
The Indian court will examine the charges on Saturday.