New Delhi: The 23-year-old physiotherapist, who was tortured and raped here by a gang of men four days ago, is stable but doctors warned of infection setting in, while Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said she could be taken abroad, if required.
But as angry protests continued for the third day on Thursday in the national capital and in other cities, investigators doubled their efforts to nab the two accused still at large. Teams have fanned out in six states.
Four men, who were arrested earlier for the horrific crime that shook the nation, have, however, not shown any remorse, investigators said.
"They behave like hardened criminals. They have not shown any remorse for the beastly way they behaved with the woman," a policeman questioning the four men, said.
The savage rape and torture occurred on Sunday night when the woman and her male friend boarded a private bus, used for ferrying school children, in south Delhi after watching a movie.
The woman, however, continued to be critical although doctors in the Safdarjung Hospital said her condition has stabilised and that she was conscious.
"She continues to be in stable condition. She is alert, conscious," B.D. Athani, medical superintendent of Safdarjung Hospital, told reporters.
"But there is still a danger of her catching infection," he cautioned.
May take rape victim abroad for treatment: Dikshit
But, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit assured instant support.
"Her condition is very critical, she has a lot of injuries but if there is a need to take her abroad to treat her and save her life, we will not hesitate," she said.
Describing it as "one of the most tragic incidents" they had ever seen, the doctors said they admire the fighting spirit of the girl.
Calling her a "brave girl", Athani said she had withstood a lot of suffering in the last few days and had undergone two surgeries since her admission Sunday night. On Wednesday doctors conducted a two-hour surgery to remove a section of the intestine that had become gangrenous.
"She is fighting it out. The girl has an immense fighting spirit... needless to say, because today (Thursday) is the fourth day... she has sustained such grievous injury and remained alert and withstood it all," Athani said.
The young woman, who hails from Ballia in Uttar Pradesh, has been communicating through notes to her parents.
Gang-rape victim wants punishment for culprits
She has been communicating, writing notes to her parents. "The culprits should be punished," she wrote in one note; in another, she enquired after her male friend who had tried to defend her and was beaten, a doctor at Safdarjung Hospital said.
Doctors have been admiring the young woman's fortitude and grit, despite the intense pain: "Being a medical student, she understands the treatment process and has been cooperating with the hospital staff. Her lower vagina has been badly damaged, but her upper vagina is not so affected. If she comes out of this crucial phase, she could lead a normal life," the doctor said on the condition of anonymity.
The doctor also said that the young woman knew that her torture and gang-rape by six men in a moving bus had left the nation shocked, and that there has been a massive outpouring of grief and expressions of support.
"She is aware that MPs, students and women's rights activists have come out and expressed support for her and the whole nation is outraged," the doctor said.
The victim was serving as an intern at a private hospital here.
As the woman continues to be on ventilator and in intensive care unit (ICU), women and men, old and young came out in large numbers, carrying banners, outside the hospital, praying that she recovers fast.
As the evening set in, hundreds of people set out again for India Gate for the second successive day, demanding harsher punishment to the culprits and justice for the victim. Carrying banners, flaming torches and shouting slogans, they expressed anger that two of the accused were still at large.
Delhi woman's friend identifies one of rapists
The friend of the woman, tortured and raped in a running bus here, has identified one of the accused as the rapist during a test identification parade (TIP) held in Tihar Jail Thursday, said police.
Mukesh, a driver-cum cleaner and brother of Ram Singh, one of the co-accused of the gang-rape case, was identified as the rapist by the 28-year-old man, who was also beaten up by the attackers.
"The man identified Mukesh as one of the rapists and told police that the accused was one of those who raped and brutally beat up his friend," said a senior police officer.
After confessing his crime before Saket court Wednesday, Mukesh had agreed to undergo an identification parade - in which an alleged offender is brought before witnesses and victims. The court had fixed the identification exercise for Thursday.
Mukesh, Vinay Sharma, 20, an assistant gym instructor, and Pawan Gupta, 19, a fruit seller, were presented in the Saket court Wednesday.
Sharma told the court that he had beaten up the gang-rape victim's male friend but did nothing with the girl and told Metropolitan Magistrate Sandeep Garg: "Hang me!"
"I have committed a horrible crime. I had beaten up the boy. I should be hanged," he said.
Gupta also had admitted to having "wronged" the woman but did not admit to raping her.
Metropolitan Magistrate Namrita Agarwal had sent Gupta and Sharma to four days' police custody. Mukesh was sent to Tihar Jail on 14 days' custody.
Gupta had told the court that he did not want to undergo the identification exercise as he had committed a "horrible act".
Bus driver Ram Singh, who was Tuesday sent to police remand till Dec 23, had refused to undergo the identification parade.
'Punish these bad men', children write to President
"The men will not repent... for what they have done to 'didi'. These bad men must be put in jail and locked in rooms all their lives till they die."
This was a letter written by a group of children to President Pranab Mukherjee today demanding stringent punishment for the culprits involved in the gangrape of girl in a moving bus last Sunday.
Angry over the horrific incident, the children wrote, "we hope you and the government will take a strong step to punish these bad men. We children would like to tell you that since we are angry we will want these men to be hanged but we think that will be an easy solution."
"...they will everyday have to live with the shame of what they did to a girl it will torture them all their lives," the letter written by children linked with Delhi Child Rights Club (DCRC).
According to DCRC, the statement has been signed by 6000 children of Delhi and surrounding areas.
"We also would like all lanes and streets to be brightly lit and lonely patches of roads, streets to be patrolled by policemen. There must be public transport in less frequented routes more often and till late in the night," the letter said.
The children also demanded there should be a ban on internet games that promote violence.
"We children want to live in a place where there is respect and dignity for everyone. Those adults who do not live by the rules must be punished without delay," said the letter.