Indian police have charged six men with murder, hours after a woman who was gang-raped and beaten on a bus in New Delhi nearly two weeks ago died in a Singapore hospital.
New Delhi police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said the six face the death penalty if convicted, in a case that has triggered protests across India for greater protection for women from sexual violence, and raised questions about lax attitudes by police toward sexual crimes.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he was aware of the emotions the attack has stirred, adding it was up to all Indians to ensure that the young woman's death will not have been in vain.
The victim "passed away peacefully" at Mount Elizabeth hospital in Singapore with her family and officials of the Indian Embassy by her side, Dr Kevin Loh, the chief executive of the hospital, said in a statement.
After 10 days at a hospital in New Delhi, the Indian capital, the woman was brought on Thursday to Mount Elizabeth, which specialises in multi-organ transplants. Dr Loh said the woman had been in extremely critical condition since Thursday, and by late Friday her condition had taken a turn for the worse, with her vital signs deteriorating.
"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 Loh said. "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."
The woman and a male friend, who have not been identified, were on a bus in New Delhi after watching a film on the evening of December 16 when they were attacked by six men who raped her. The men beat the couple and inserted an iron rod into the woman's body, resulting in severe organ damage. Both were then stripped and thrown off the bus, according to police.
Indian police have arrested six people in connection with the attack, which left the victim with severe internal injuries, a lung infection and brain damage. She also suffered from a heart attack while in the hospital in New Delhi.
Indian High Commissioner, or ambassador, T.C.A. Raghavan told reporters that the scale of the injuries the woman suffered was "very grave" and in the end "proved too much".
The frightening nature of the crime shocked Indians, who have come out in the thousands for almost daily demonstrations.