Woman gang-raped in Delhi, battles for life

New Delhi, Dec 17 (IANS) A 23-year-old woman was battling for life here Monday after a bunch of men raped her in a moving bus and threw her out on the road along with her badly beaten boyfriend, officials said.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit expressed her disgust over the incident even as police detained four suspects for the overnight crime and said they were looking for other accomplices.

While the 28-year-old boyfriend was discharged from hospital Monday morning, the young woman, whose name is being withheld, was on ventilator at the Safdarjung Hospital with life threatening injuries.

"The patient is critical," hospital spokesman S.N. Makwana told IANS.

Police said the horrific attack took place when the young couple reached Munirka in south Delhi around 9.15 p.m. Sunday after watching a movie and boarded a stationary bus to go to Dwarka.

Around five to seven men in the bus, including the driver and conductor, allegedly misbehaved with the woman. When the boyfriend intervened, he was beaten up. She was then sexually assaulted in the moving bus.

The woman's ordeal, a police officer said, lasted for 45 long minutes.

Both victims were pushed out of the bus at Mahipalpur in south Delhi after their mobile phones were snatched.

A police vehicle rushed them to hospital past midnight after being tipped off by a toll plaza patrol that a young man and a young woman were sprawled by the roadside.

Deepak Tripathi, the anguished uncle of the young man, said five to six men attacked the two.

"When my nephew tried to save the girl, he was beaten with iron rods," he said. "The girl was then gang-raped."

The young woman, who belongs to Ballia in Uttar Pradesh, was interning at a hospital here for some months. She lives in Mahavir Enclave in west Delhi.

Doctors said she had grave injuries on the stomach and intestine, and she bore signs of having been beaten with a blunt object.

Her friend hails from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh and lives in Ber Sarai in south Delhi. He had completed his B.Tech from Meerut and was preparing for civil services examination.

Delhi Police said four suspected attackers had been held and CCTV footage of the bus had been seized from a toll plaza in Gurgaon.

"We cannot divulge the name of the detained and where they were picked up," a police officer said.

Chief Minister Dikshit pledged "strict action" against the attackers.

The transport department has cancelled the license of the private bus, she said.

Education and Social Welfare Minister Kiran Walia said: "It is a shocking incident."

Mamta Sharma, chairperson of the National Commission for Women, said she was aghast. "If an incident like this can take place in a thickly populated area like Munirka, it shows the police are not alert."