Indian rape victim surviving against the odds

The 23-year-old medical student, who was severely beaten, raped for almost an hour and was airlifted to Singapore for treatment.

SINGAPORE - An Indian gangrape victim whose assault in New Delhi triggered nationwide protests earlier this month has suffered "significant brain injury" and is surviving against the odds, the Singapore hospital treating her said on Friday.

The 23-year-old medical student, who was severely beaten, raped for almost an hour and thrown out of a moving bus in New Delhi, was airlifted to Singapore on December 26 for specialist treatment.

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"The patient is currently struggling against the odds, and fighting for her life," Mount Elizabeth Hospital Chief Executive Officer Kelvin Loh said in a statement.

"Our medical team's investigations upon her arrival at the hospital yesterday showed that in addition to her prior cardiac arrest, she also had infection of her lungs and abdomen as well as significant brain injury."

The victim had already undergone three abdominal operations before arriving in Singapore where her condition on Thursday was described as "extremely critical".

Demonstrations over the lack of safety for women erupted across India after the December 16 attack on the unnamed victim, culminating last weekend in pitched battles between police and protesters in the heart of the capital.

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Should the woman die, it could trigger fresh outrage over the case, which caught Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government off-guard and triggered a blame game between politicians and the police.

"We share the anguish and anger with the country over this heinous crime," Singh told reporters on Friday. "Our prayers are with the brave young girl and best possible medical care is being provided to her."

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

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