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Murder charges added for suspects in Indian gang rape trial

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 31st, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Authorities have since added murder charges for the suspects in the brutal gang rape aboard a speeding bus that led to the death of a 23-year-old Indian woman. The case has led to nationwide outrage in a nation where violence against women is all too frequent. 

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Six people, including a minor and a bus driver, have been arrested in connection with the New Delhi rape that happened this month.

The female victim was airlifted to Singapore after she was treated for injuries in a New Delhi hospital. Her internal organs were so brutally damaged that she later succumbed to her injuries. Singapore doctors said she died "peacefully" surrounded by her family and Indian embassy officials.

"She had suffered from severe organ failure following serious injuries to her body and brain," Dr. Kelvin Loh, chief executive officer at Mount Elizabeth Hospital says. "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."

Her remains were returned to India and were cremated in a private funeral, Home Ministry spokesman K.S. Dhatwalia said.

"As we honor the memory of this brave young woman, we also recommit ourselves to changing attitudes and ending all forms of gender-based violence, which plagues every country in the world," The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi said in a statement.

Indian protesters have called the victim, whose identity still remains a secret, "Damini," which means "lightning" in Hindi. "Damini" is also a 1993 Bollywood film whose lead female character fights for a housemaid, a victim of sexual assault.

"To our friends in India: we share your outrage over an act of unimaginable cruelty against one of our sisters," Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, wrote on Twitter.

The suspects are reported to have assaulted the woman and her male companion on a bus on December 16, robbing them of their belongings before dumping them at the side of a road, police said. Her male companion has since been discharged from a hospital.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh offered his "deepest condolences.

"We have already seen the emotions and energies this incident has generated," he said, referring to the widespread protests that have emerged in the incident. "It would be a true homage to her memory if we are able to channel ... these emotions and energies into a constructive course of action."

Reported rape cases in India, a nation where there is a cultural stigma keeps many victims from reporting the crime have increased drastically over the past four decades, from 2,487 in 1971 to 24,206 in 2011, according to official figures. New Delhi alone had 572 rapes reported last year and more than 600 in 2012.

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