NEW DELHI: The body of the 23-year-old gangrape victim, which was brought from Singapore early Sunday morning, was later cremated in Dwarka in west Delhi amid tight security.
The body, which was brought in a special Air India flight, was received by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi who consoled the family members.
The girl’s family members, Delhi chief minister Shiela Dikshit, minister of state for home RPN Singh and other political leaders were present at the cremation which was off-limits for the media.
The gangrape victim lost her battle for life after suffering one of the worst sexual assaults in the Indian capital on the evening of December 16.
Her death angered the already outraged nation as protests broke out in various cities on Saturday even as the authorities had imposed prohibitory orders and closed India Gate and Vijay Chowk – rocked by protests earlier this week – and shut down major metro stations.
But people in their thousands gathered at Jantar Mantar in Delhi. Holding placards and candle-lights, they demanded justice for the victim. Even Delhi chief minister Shiela Dikshit was booed off when she tried to join protesters.
In Mumbai, Bollywood came together to pay respects to the young girl. There were poignant scenes when stars such as Jaya Bhaduri and Om Puri paid tributes to the young girl.
Paying his respects to the victim, President Pranab Mukherjee called her the “the brave daughter of India” and said her death would not go in vain.
The President said, “She was a brave and courageous girl who fought till the very last minute for her dignity and her life. She is a true hero and symbolises the best in Indian youth and women…The nation will mourn the passing of this brave daughter of India.”
The young woman was gang-raped by six men in a moving bus in south Delhi on December 16, then beaten up and thrown off the bus after 10 pm to die on the roadside. After sexually assaulting her, the men had inserted a rusted L-shaped rod into her. These L-shaped rods are used to operate a jack while changing tyres. The infection by the rod turned her intestine gangrenous which had to be removed. But the injuries to her intestinal tract remained very serious.
After 11 days of treatment at south Delhi’s Safdarjang Hospital, the victim was airlifted to Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital after the Indian government decided not to take any chances considering the unprecedented public outrage the crime has created across the country.