An Indian woman who was the victim of a gang rape and brutal beating earlier this month in New Delhi has been flown to Singapore for further treatment, while the Indian prime minister is pledging to focus on the issue of women's safety.
The CEO of Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Dr. Kelvin Loh, said the 23-year-old victim arrived at the facility early Thursday in "extremely critical condition." He said "prior to her arrival, she has already undergone three abdominal surgeries and experienced a cardiac arrest in India."
Earlier in the day, B.D. Athani, medical superintendent at the Indian hospital where she had been treated, said the hospital in Singapore has an advanced multi-organ transplant facility and that arrangements have been made for the woman's family to accompany her there.
"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 identified by the doctors, involving minimum journey so that she can be provided with state-of-art medical treatment that may perhaps stretch to many weeks," said Athani.
Indian Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said in a statement that "despite the best efforts of our doctors, the victim continues to be critical and her fluctuating health remains a big cause of concern for all of us."
The woman was traveling on a charter bus on December 16 when a group of men on board raped and beat her with an iron rod and then threw her from the bus.
Police have arrested six alleged attackers, who are accused of rape and attempted murder.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told a development conference Thursday that attacks against women happen "in all states and regions" and require greater attention from national and local officials.
"The safety and security of women is of the highest concern to our government," said the prime minister. "A commission of inquiry is being set up to look into precisely these issues in the capital."
Singh said India cannot have meaningful development without the active participation of women, and that their security must be assured.
The government on Wednesday announced a commission that will review police response to the attack, while another panel is tasked with suggesting ways to make the capital safer for women as well as changes to the law to create stiffer penalties for such crimes.
In a new measure aimed at combating violence against women, India's junior home minister Ratanjit Singh said the names and photos of convicted rapists will be posted on a ministry website to publicly shame them.
The gang rape has sparked days of widespread protests in New Delhi urging the government to address crimes against women. On Thursday, hundreds of demonstrators tried to march to government buildings in the capital but were stopped by riot police armed with tear gas and water cannons.
Meanwhile, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee's son, Abhijit, was sharply criticized Thursday for saying the protesters were not students but "dented and painted" women who wear heavy makeup and think it is fashionable to protest. He said the demonstrations "must be part of some hidden agenda of some political party."
Mukherjee later apologized after activists, political leaders and his sister came out against his remarks.
Some information for this report was provided by AP.
An Indian protester shouts slogans as he is stopped by police during a protest against a recent gang-rape of a young woman in a moving bus in New Delhi, India, December 27, 2012.
Indians protesting the recent gang-rape of a young woman in a moving bus in New Delhi, display a poster calling for death penalty for offenders at a rally in Kolkata, December 27, 2012.
Police stand near barricades as they prepare to stop protesters on their way to India Gate while demonstrating against the gang-rape of a young woman in a moving bus in New Delhi, India, December 27, 2012.
People participate in a candle light vigil for the recovery of the young victim of the recent brutal gang-rape in a bus in New Delhi, India, December 26, 2012.
A woman is removed by Indian police while protesting against the brutal gang-rape of a woman on a moving bus in New Delhi, India, December 25, 2012.
Police and relatives carry the body of Subhash Tomar, a police man, during his funeral in New Delhi, December 25, 2012. Tomar died after he was injured during a protest over a gang rape in New Delhi.
Members of the All India Democratic Students Organization (DSO) hold placards and shout slogans condemning the brutal gang rape of a woman on a moving bus in New Delhi during a protest in Ahmadabad, India, December 24, 2012.
Indian police use water cannons to push back protesters during a demonstration near the India Gate against the gang rape and brutal beating of a 23-year-old student on a bus last week, in New Delhi, India, December 23, 2012.
An Indian man overwhelmed by tear gas lies on the ground during a protest in New Delhi, India, December 23, 2012.
A demonstrator holds a placard in front of India Gate as she takes part in a protest rally organized by various women's organisations in New Delhi, India, December 21, 2012.
People participate in a candlelight vigil for the fast recovery of a young woman as she fights for her life at a hospital after being brutally raped and tortured, in New Delhi, India, December 21, 2012.