The Straits Times
Published on Dec 29, 2012

Indian gang-rape victim's death: Manmohan Singh says he is "deeply saddened"


Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says he is "deeply saddened" to hear that the 23-year-old Indian medical student has died from the injuries sustained in a gang rape.

He said early Saturday morning that he joined the nation in conveying his condolences to her family and friends. "I pray for the peace of the departed soul and hope that her family will have the strength to bear this grievous loss," he said in a statement.

"I want to tell them and the nation that while she may have lost her battle for life, it is up to us all to ensure that her death will not have been in vain.

"We have already seen the emotions and energies this incident has generated. These are perfectly understandable reactions from a young India and an India that genuinely desires change. 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."

Mr Singh also urged calm as news of the death broke as India slept. Her brutal rape by six men had moved hundreds of young Indians to stage protests asking for speedy justice for her, and safety for women.

The student died at 4.45am on Saturday in Singapore's Mt Elizabeth Hospital, where she had been flown to on Thursday morning to seek further treatment.

The Singapore specialists who treated her said she was in an extremely critical condition when admitted and despite efforts, her condition continued to deteriorate. Her body has been sent to a mortuary and will be flown back to India, together with her parents and two brothers who came with her.

Mr Singh said there needs to be "a dispassionate debate and inquiry into the critical changes that are required in societal attitudes". He said the Government is examining, "on priority basis, the penal provisions that exist for such crimes and measures to enhance the safety and security of women".

"I hope that the entire political class and civil society will set aside narrow sectional interests and agenda to help us all reach the end that we all desire - making India a demonstrably better and safer place for women to live in."

The Indian High Commission in Singapore is holding a press conference.