New Delhi: Expressing his distress and sadness over the death of a 23-year-old gang rape victim in Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital late on Friday night after a struggle of 13 days, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said the government is committed to seeking deterrent punishment for all of the accused and would make necessary changes in the law to prevent such acts in the future.
In statement, Shinde said: "I am deeply saddened by the demise of the victim. We tried our best to provide her the best possible health care. I express my deep condolences to the bereaved family. The government is also committed to make necessary changes in the law to make it more stringent so that such incidents do not occur in the future."
He further said: "Government is committed to seek deterrent punishment for all of the accused."
Union Minister of State for Home R.P.N. Singh said: "The guilty will be given the harshest punishment. This is a time of sadness for India."
President Pranab Mukherjee said: "I am deeply distressed by the unfortunate demise of the 23-year-old girl."
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said: "I join the nation in conveying to her family and friends my deepest condolences at this terrible loss. I want to tell them and the nation that while she may have lost her battle for life, it is up to us all to ensure that her death will not have been in vain."
Doctors at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore said: "She was courageous in fighting for her life for so long against the odds, but trauma to her body was too severe."
In India, there was a feeling of shock, dismay and anger as news of the death of the 23-year-old medical student whose savage gang-rape on a moving bus provoked nation-wide outrage and protests, was reported early on Saturday morning.
The unnamed girl died with her parents by her side.
In Delhi, government officials appealed for calm and vowed that those guilty of the murderous assault will be severely punished.
The government said that a special plane is being sent from Delhi to collect her body and family. It is expected to land in Delhi at about 4 p.m.
Doctors at the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore, where she was admitted on Wednesday night said she died of "severe organ failure following serious injuries to her body and brain.
The medical student fought for her life for 13 days, enduring three major surgeries, a brain injury and a cardiac arrest at a Delhi hospital before experts decided to move her in an air ambulance to Singapore on Tuesday night.
After the monstrous attack on her on December 16, a grid of anger and grief fastened cities across India. In Delhi and elsewhere, demonstrators have been marching every day, demanding a swift trial for the six men arrested for the heinous attack, as well as stricter anti-rape laws and more safety for women.
In messages that the student scribbled for her family while on life support systems, she reportedly asked if the six men who had damaged her so badly that her intestines had to be removed had been caught and punished.
Their trial is likely to begin on January 3. The government has promised daily hearings to ensure a verdict is delivered quickly.
On December 16, the student and a male friend boarded a bus after watching a film when they were attacked by six men who took turns to rape her. They also beat the couple with an iron rod.
The bus kept circling a 31-kilometre stretch in South Delhi, its tinted windows concealing the savagery within as it rolled unstopped through a series of police checkpoints.
Almost an hour later, the couple was thrown from the bus, battered and bleeding; a passer-by phoned the police for help.
With Delhi as the epicentre, the protests scaled up quickly. Last weekend, the police clashed with thousands of demonstrators in Delhi. An injured constable collapsed; he died in hospital on December 25.