Family "shattered" by her death

The death of the 23-year-old medical student could spawn new protests and possibly fresh confrontations with the police, especially in the Indian capital, which has been the focus of the demonstrations.

"We are very sad to report that the patient passed away peacefully at 4:45 a.m. on Dec 29, 2012 (15:45 a.m. ET Friday). Her family and officials from the High Commission of India were by her side," Mount Elizabeth Hospital Chief Executive Officer Kelvin Loh said in a statement.

The woman, who was severely beaten, raped and thrown out of a moving bus in New Delhi, was flown to Singapore by the Indian government on Wednesday for specialist treatment.

Most rapes and other sex crimes in India go unreported and offenders are rarely punished, women's rights activists say. But the brutality of the assault on December 16 triggered public outrage and demands for better policing and harsher punishment for rapists.

The case has received blanket coverage on cable television news channels. The woman has not been identified but some Indian media have called her "Amanat", an Urdu word meaning "treasure".

India’s High Commissioner to Singapore T.C.A. Raghavan said the woman’s family was “shattered” by her death.

“The scale of her injuries (was) very great,” Raghavan told reporters at the hospital.

“It was was very trying for the family. The girl of course was unconscious... I must say they (the family) bore the entire process with a great deal of fortitude and a great deal of courage.”

The body was taken to a morgue, and Raghavan said arrangements were being made for it to be returned to India in line with the family’s wishes.

The decision to fly her out of India by air ambulance was taken at a meeting of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s cabinet on Wednesday and the government had promised to pay all her medical bills.

Raghavan declined to comment on reports in India accusing the government of sending her to Singapore to minimize the possible backlash in the event of her death.

Some Indian medical experts had questioned the decision to airlift the woman to Singapore, calling it a risky maneuver given the seriousness of her injuries. They had said she was already receiving the best possible care in India.

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