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The Indian woman whose gang rape sparked protests across India has died. Six men who are suspected of raping the unidentified woman will be charged with murder, officials said Saturday.
The 23-year-old woman was attacked on a New Delhi bus two weeks ago, reports CBS News. It sparked protests across the country and highlighted the dangerous conditions for women in India. Police have continued to block off sections of the capital, fearing more violent protests.
According to The New York Times, the woman had to have her intestines removed because of injuries sustained during the attack and had three abdominal operations at a local hospital Wednesday. She was then flown to a Singapore hospital, where she died early Saturday.
Hours after her death, Indian police announced that the six men suspected of the attack will be charged with murder. If convicted, they could face the death penalty.
The woman and a male friend had been attacked by the men on a bus on Dec. 16. During the attack, they inserted an iron rod into her body, which caused internal damage. Police say they were stripped and thrown off the bus.
After being treated at the local hospital, she was taken to Mount Elizabeth hospital in Singapore. Her condition continued to deteriorate there. “Despite all efforts by a team of eight specialists in Mount Elizabeth hospital to keep her stable, her condition continued to deteriorate over these two days,” Dr. Kevin Loh said in a statement, notes CBS News. “She had suffered from severe organ failure following serious injuries to her body and brain. She was courageous in fighting for her life for so long against the odds, but the trauma to her body was too severe for her to overcome.”
Many in India have criticized the justice system for not acting on the sexual harassment women face in the country. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other officials have agreed that things need to change.
“We have already seen the emotions and energies this incident has generated,” Singh said. “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.”
“As a woman, and mother, I understand how protesters feel,” Sonia Gandhi, India’s most powerful female politician, stated. “Today we pledge that the victim will get justice.”