Delhi Gang-Rape Victim Dies: Malala Yousafzai Blasts Indian Government

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By Palash R. Ghosh | December 31, 2012 7:22 AM EST

Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani women’s rights activist currently recuperating from a gunshot wound in a British hospital, has expressed her condolences to the family of the 23-year-old Indian woman who was gang-raped in Delhi two weeks ago and subsequently died.

According to the Daily Bhaskar newspaper of India, Malala also blasted the Indian government for mysteriously transporting the rape victim from a hospital in Delhi to Singapore, despite her weakened condition.

“The rapists dumped her on road,” Malala tweeted. “The government dumped her in Singapore. What's the difference?”

Malala’s concern about the decision to shift the victim to a foreign hospital 2,600 miles away is shared by many medical professionals and academics in India.

According to media reports in India, Brahma Chellaney, a prominent strategic affairs expert tweeted that he suspected that if the rape victim had died in Delhi, a new round of violent protests would have ensued.

“Rape victim was virtually brain dead, with her heart beat drug-boosted, when callous India packed her off to die abroad,” he wrote.

The victim was airlifted on Thursday from Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital (one of the leading medical treatment facilities in Asia) to the renowned multi-organ transplant facility Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.

Indian media has reported that the decision to transfer the victim overseas came from Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who has already been the target of vitriol from protesters. Dikshit reportedly urged both the Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to move the young woman abroad for “better treatment.”    

Meanwhile, observers in India are wondering what the long-term impact of the tragic rape-and-murder will have in a country where in the violent abuse of girls and women is widespread.

In an editorial in The Hindu newspaper, Ratna Kapur, Global Professor of Law at the Jindal Global Law School, wrote that the tragedy represents a “tipping point” and compared it to the convulsions of the Arab Spring revolt.

“The protests across the country that have gone viral in recent days represent how we as a nation have arrived at a moment of transformation that many young people have provoked across the world in recent years,” she wrote.

“The woman’s brutal rape and murder provides the spark to bring the culture of destructive masculinity, and the pervasiveness of rape and sexual violence in our society to the front and centre of the political agenda. Such violence cannot be reduced to a social problem to be handed over only to women’s police cells or departments in charge of women and children’s affairs. Its eradication is central to our self worth and integrity as a nation.”

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