30 Dec 2012

Indian police appeal for calm after gang rape death

9:56 am on 30 December 2012

Police in India have sealed off much of the capital, New Delhi, and appealed for calm after a gang rape victim died of her injuries.

The unnamed Indian medical student whose gang rape in the Indian capital triggered nationwide protests died in hospital in Singapore on Saturday.

The 23-year-old woman was severely beaten, raped for almost an hour and thrown out of a moving bus in the attack on 16 December, Reuters reports.

Having already undergone three abdominal operations, and suffering a cardiac arrest, she was airlifted to Singapore on Boxing Day for specialist treatment.

Mount Elizabeth Hospital announced she died at 4.45am on Saturday with her family by her side.

The hospital said she had suffered severe organ failure following serious injuries to her body and brain.

Her body is to be flown back to India.

The attack triggered violent public protests in India that left one police officer dead.

Six men have been arrested in connection with the rape and two police officers have been suspended.

The BBC reports that as news of the woman's death spread across social media in India, police sealed off large parts of central New Delhi and appealed for calm.

Gatherings of more than five people have been banned in the city centre.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he was deeply saddened by the death and he pledged to channel emotions surrounding the case into concrete action.

The case had generated "emotions and energies" among young Indians seeking changes in society, he said in a statement after the announcement of her death.

"It would be a true homage to her memory if we are able to channelize these emotions and energies into a constructive course of action."

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 shows the number of reported rape cases in the country rose by nearly 17% between 2007 and 2011.