India orders rape inquiries

Commissions to look at failures, law change as victim assessed for organ transplant.

An Indian student who was left fighting for her life after being brutally gang-raped in New Delhi has been flown to Singapore for treatment.

The 23-year-old, whose attack sparked protests across India, was moved from the Safdarjung Hospital in central Delhi.

The hospital's medical superintendent, Dr B.D. Athani, said the victim was flown to Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.

"Based on the advice of a team of doctors, the Government of India has made arrangements that the patient be shifted in a well-equipped air ambulance to a renowned hospital ... so that she can be provided state-of-art medical treatment that may stretch many weeks," he said.

The woman, who had been attacked with an iron rod during her 40-minute gang rape on a bus on December 16 in New Delhi, was suffering from severe intestinal injuries.

"She has had to be operated on three times. With fortitude and courage she has survived the after-effects of the injuries so far but her condition continues to be critical," he said.

The hospital chief hinted the student may have to receive an organ transplant in Singapore.

"The said hospital has a state-of-art multi-organ transplant facility. The arrangement has also been made for the family to accompany her as the treatment may take a longer period."

India announced yesterday it was setting up a special commission of inquiry after the gang-rape when the woman was tricked into boarding a bus by the six men who then took it in turns to assault her.

Six suspects have been arrested and remanded in custody.

The Minister of Finance, P. Chidambaram, said the inquiry would "identify the lapses, if any, on the part of the police, or another authority or person that contributed to the occurrence, and fix responsibility for the lapses or negligence".

The minister also said a separate panel to examine existing legislation and "suggest changes in the laws in order to make punishment for such horrific crimes stiffer" would submit its report in 30 days.


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