The body of the 23-year-old medical student, whose savage gang-rape on a moving bus provoked outrage and protests through India, has been brought back to India.
A special Air India aircraft carrying the body landed at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International airport at around 4:15 am. The body was taken out of the airport in an ambulance of a private hospital through the Palam technical area.
The aircraft AIC-380A took off from Singapore at around 12:30 am local time (10:00 PM IST on Saturday), Indian High Commission officials said.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was at Indira Gandhi International Airport for the arrival of the specially-chartered plane, according to news agency AFP which quoted security sources.
Amanat (not her real name) died in a hospital in Singapore after severe organ failure early yesterday morning. She was flown there on Wednesday night in an air ambulance with a team of doctors and her parents.
"She was courageous in fighting for her life for so long against the odds but the trauma to her body was too severe for her to overcome," a statement by the Mount Elizabeth Hospital had said yesterday.
The girl's death led to protests across several cities yesterday. (Read)
The Prime Minister appealed for calm and vowed that those guilty of the murderous assault will be severely punished.
"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," Dr Manmohan Singh said. The president of his party, Sonia Gandhi, said, "It strengthens our resolve to fight with all our might and with all the powers of our laws and our administration for the safety and protection of all women of our country." ('India's Daughter' dies: reactions)
Like yesterday, all routes to India Gate in the heart of the capital will be closed today. Ten metro stations - Pragati Maidan, Mandi House, Barakhamba Road, Rajiv Chowk, Patel Chowk, Central Secretariat, Udyog Bhawan, Race Course, Jor Bagh and Khan Market - will also be shut. (Read)
Five thousand policemen and security officers, some of them in riot gear, were posted yesterday to ward off demonstrators who strayed. Close to 3000 protesters gathered at Jantar Mantar, the designated spot for demonstrations; some of them lay down with black ribbons across their mouths.
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit tried to join them, but was heckled after she lit a candle and was then taken away by her security. Protesters said they objected to her presence because they do not want a political tint to today's sombre mood. (Read)
For 13 days, the student, who used to take tuition classes to pay for her own education according to some reports, fought for her life. She endured three major surgeries, brain injury and a cardiac arrest in a hospital in Delhi. But this was not a woman who was ready to give up. In scribbled messages while on life support systems, she reportedly asked her family if the six men who had damaged her so badly that her intestines had to be removed had been caught and punished.
They were charged with her murder yesterday; their trial is likely to begin on January 3; the government has promised daily hearings to ensure a verdict is delivered quickly.
Before she was flown to Singapore, the woman shared the details of her attack with two different judges. Her testimony was not video-taped but will be used in the trial.
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 onto the road.(With inputs from agencies)