The young woman who was gang-raped and attacked with an iron rod on a bus in Delhi is "stable, conscious and alert" this morning after a major surgery yesterday, her doctors said.
"She is really a very brave girl," they said, adding that though she remains on ventilator support, "she is attempting to breathe on her own." A point of concern remains her platelet count, which has fallen. "I am not saying she is out of danger...but her vital parameters are within acceptable range," said Dr BD Ashthani, the Medical Superintendent of Safdarjung Hospital.
He said the woman, "who has immense fighting spirit", is still on a ventilator support system. She communicates via gestures, but doctors are careful not to disturb her. "She must rest," he stressed.
Large infected parts of her intestines were removed in a two-hour operation yesterday, the latest in a series of complicated procedures she has gone through since her attack on Sunday night. Before her operation yesterday, she reportedly scribbled messages that she shared with her brother and mother.
The medical student's story has impelled India into seething protests and rallies, demanding expeditious justice for her, and an over-hauling of the protection offered to women in cities everywhere.
In different parts of Delhi yesterday, large groups of people protested, demanding a swift trial in this case, harsher punishment for sexual crimes, and more police patrolling on the streets at night. The different demands coalesced around the agreement that things must change.
The police and the Home Minister admitted there are large parts of Delhi that are poorly-lit at night, that more police vans and patrols are needed to guard them, and that vehicles with tinted windows have been allowed on the roads in violation of the law.
Yesterday, the Delhi High Court sanctioned five fast-track courts to handle rape cases, an attempt to ensure that trials do not stretch endlessly, substantiating the perception that those who assault women often manage to get away with it.