The 23-year-old victim of the brutal gang-rape and assault in Delhi that had triggered an outrage across India died early this morning here after putting up a brave battle for life for nearly a fortnight.
The girl, who was admitted to the well-known multi-organ transplant facility Mount Elizabeth Hospital here on Thursday morning in an extremely critical condition, breathed her last at 4:45 a.m. (2:15 a.m. India time). She was earlier treated at the Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi.
“We are very sad to report that the patient passed away peacefully at 4.45 a.m. on 29 Dec 2012 (Singapore time),” the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer Dr Kelvin Loh said in a statement.
“Her family and officials from the High Commission of India were by her side. The Mount Elizabeth Hospital team of doctors, nurses and staff join her family in mourning her loss,” the statement said.
The body has been moved to the mortuary in the Singapore General Hospital and will be flown back to India by a chartered plane. Accompanied by her family, the body is expected to arrive in Delhi in the night.
President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and a host of political leaders condoled the death of the girl and paid rich tributes to the victim of the sexual assault for her brave fight.
The girl was raped and brutally assaulted in a moving bus by six men in Delhi on December 16 and thrown out along with her companion.
Indian High Commissioner T.C.A. Raghavan told reporters that the family was yet to decide on the plans for the last rites back home.
He said the girl fought a brave battle till the end. She was brought to Singapore for being provided good medical treatment.
The envoy said: “The family is shattered by this development.
At the same time, they realised that best possible medical attention was given. And in the end it was the scale of injuries that proved too much for the medical attention provided to her”.
He said the final few hours was a trying time for the girl’s family and they bore the entire process with a great deal of fortitude and courage.
Raghavan said he has passed on the condolence message of the Prime Minister to the family in which he had spoken of the desire to make India a demonstrably better and safe place for women to live in.
Raghavan said the High Commission has received numerous messages from various quarters including the Singapore government deeply mourning the death.
He appreciated the help extended by the Singapore Foreign Ministry, the government and the Mount Elizabeth Hospital for all their support in the last two days.
Replying to questions on the shifting of the girl from Delhi to Singapore, he said consultations were held between doctors of Safdarjung hospital and Mount Elizabeth Hospital and they must have given full thought to it before taking it.
Asked whether doctors felt that she could have died due to her shift from Delhi to Singapore, Raghavan said “no such sentiment was expressed to me. Both the doctors (P.K. Verma of Safdarjung and Yatin Mehta of Medanta Medicity) said she was very badly injured in the assault of December 16 night”.
He said the best possible treatment was given to the girl in Delhi and in Singapore and the cause of her death was “the injuries she sustained“.
“All possible medical efforts were made to treat the injuries. The efforts were not successful in helping her to overcome the injuries,” he said.
Declining to go into the details of the family, he said they had requested that the privacy of their identity to be protected.