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Dec 28, 2012 at 06:40pm IST

Delhi rape survivor battles for life abroad, politics hits a new low in India

New Delhi: Even as the 23-year-old Delhi gangrape survivor continues to be in a very critical condition, fighting against all odds for her survival in a Singapore hospital, the politicians back home have hit a new low as they mocked victims of heinous crimes like rape and passed comments that could be termed extremely shocking and shameful.

According to doctors, the gangrape survivor has an infection in lungs and abdomen, as well as an injury to the brain. She had also had cardiac arrest two days ago. Hospital authorities in Singapore said that the survivor was struggling against all odds and fighting for her life while a multi-disciplinary team was doing all to stabilise her.

Sources at the Mount Elizabeth Hospital also indicated that no surgery could be conducted immediately as the survivor was still not fit for surgery. A statement issued by the Mount Elizabeth Hospital said, "The condition of the patient continues to remain critical. In addition to her prior cardiac arrest, the survivor also had infection of her lungs and abdomen, as well as significant brain injury. The patient is currently struggling against the odds, and fighting for her life...A multi-disciplinary team of doctors is taking care of her."

Delhi rape survivor battles for life in Singapore

The survivor continues to be in a very critical condition, fighting against all odds for her survival in a Singapore hospital.

Later, speaking about her health condition, Dr VP Nair, who is a cardiologist at the Mount Elizabeth Hospital, said that it was not good, adding "cardiac arrest in a young patient after multiple injuries is a serious problem". He also ruled out a possibility of shifting the survivor to UK, saying "transfer from one country to another on a long journey may not be a good idea for a patient with such difficult and complex medical problem...medical care in Singapore is as good as that in London".

However, amidst the complex medical condition that the survivor is battling currently, the politicians in India shamed the country as they passed irresponsible and shocking comments on crimes such as rape and even victims of it.

A day after similar comments from a CPM MLA and Congress leader Abhijeet Mukherjee, Trinamool Congress spokesperson Kakoli Ghosh defended West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's handling of the Pake Street rape, doubting the character of the victim.

She said, "If you're referring to the Park Street rape, see that is a different case altogether that was not at all a rape case. It was a misunderstanding between the two parties involved, between a lady and her client. This was not a rape."

The bizarre statement from Kakoli came while she was reacting to another obscene remark of a CPM leader. The Trinamool Congress, however, appeared to distance itself from the comment with ministers Bobby Hakim and Subroto Mukherjee refusing to comment on it.

Reacting to the statement of the woman leader, the rape victim expressed shock, but added that such allegations actually make no difference as it cannot change the fact that she was raped on that very day.

Speaking to CNN-IBN, the victim said, "I am pretty shocked because it is coming from such an educated person. These kinds of allegations actually make no difference because it doesn't actually matter as to what they say, what they call me and they cannot change the fact that I was raped on that very fateful day and I think that the politicians should stop politicising the incident...they should not make accusations like this specially a woman making it on another woman that really is a turning point in one's life."

This came after CPM MLA Anisur Rehman embarrassed his party while mocking the Trinamool government's compensation for rape victims. He had said, "When Mamata Banerjee used to land up at Writers' with rape victims seeking compensation, we would ask her to bring in those who were actually raped. I would like to ask Mamata Banerjee what would be her fee if someone gets Rs 20,000 after being raped."

The CPM MLA, however, apologised for his remark later, and did seek forgiveness from the Chief Minister. He said, "I had passed a comment regarding our CM which was inappropriate. I apologise for the mistake and seek forgiveness from the Chief Minister and the people of our state. My intention was not to demean the dignity of the Chief Minister."

His party also reacted strongly to the comment calling it atrocious and completely unacceptable. Senior CPM leader Brinda Karat reacted angrily, saying, "It is an atrocious statement and is completely unacceptable. You have a political opponent who is a woman, you can have legitimate political criticism using political language but this kind of highly sexist, derogatory language is what we are fighting against. Party has reacted, made public censure and strongly criticised it. We can't tolerate."

And this was not all in the chain of the derogatory and shocking comments against victims. On Thursday, there was nationwide condemnation and outrage over President Pranab Mukherjee's son Abhijeet's comment on women at India gate protesting the gangrape of the 23-year-old paramedical student in a moving bus in the national capital.

Mukherjee, a Congress MP from Jangipur in West Bengal, was quoted as telling a TV channel on Christmas: "Those who claim to be students - I can see many beautiful women among them, they were highly dented-painted...they're giving interviews on TV, they've brought their children to show them the scenes."

He had, however, later issued an "unconditional apology". The comments led to outrage from various quarters, including from his sister Sharmishtha who expressed "utter shock and anguish" at the remarks.

Reacting to it, the Congress party on Friday said that there's no need for action against Mukherjee. Their rationale is that the President's son was forced to withdraw his comment on national television, hence there is no need to act against him. In fact, a defiant Congress insisted that it was a closed chapter now, despite the fact that people across the country refused to accept his rather forced and indirect apology.

Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said, "He has realised his mistake and apologised for it. The matter is closed. After apologising for the comment made, what more can be done?"

Meanwhile, another controversy surrounding the gangrape survivor and her health was whether it was appropriate to shift her from Safdarjung Hospital in the national capital to Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. Several doctors raised question on the decision saying the step taken was not in the medical interest of the patient.

"There must be a lot of considerations as to why she was moved - political, social, emotional - but medically, I think it is sad that we send people like her to other countries when there are facilities here. Shifting such a dangerously ill patient was incorrect," Samiran Nundy, a doctor at Delhi's Sir Ganga Ram Hospital said. "If she was my patient, I would not have shifted her," Dr Nundy added.

Asked whether airlifting a patient who is susceptible to a lot of infection was a good move, Dr Nundy said, "I don't think the infection was the problem. Mainly, the blood pressure and the oxygen going into the blood would have been the main problem."

Dr Naimish Mehta, an Organ Transplant Surgeon at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital itself said that the move could have been avoided, contending that there is nothing that the Singapore hospital has which those in India don't have.

However, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde refuted the allegations that the decision to shift the Delhi gangrape survivor out of the country was political. "The decision to shift (the survivor) was not political. We had consulted doctors," said the Home Minister.

Meanwhile, prayers continued for the survivor even as there was finally a statement from UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi as well. Talking to mediapersons, Sonia said her prayers and thoughts are with the gangrape survivor, adding that she hoped no time was lost in bring the perpetrators to justice. She also cancelled the celebrations for the 127th anniversary of the Congress.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reiterated that the government was committed to bringing the guilty to book. He said, "Our government is committed to bringing the guilty to book...you have my assurance that our government is committed to bring the guilty to justice as soon as possible."

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