The family of the 23-year-old gang-rape victim, who survived a brutal attack on Dec. 16 only to succumb to her injuries Saturday, is calling for the death penalty in the wake of the tragedy that has incited mass anti-rape protests across India.
While the six men accused of severely beating and gang-raping the unidentified young woman face murder charges, the rape victim's family is calling for the execution of all of her attackers.
"The fight has just begun. We want all the accused hanged, and we will fight for that, till the end,” the victim's brother told the Indian Express.
The 23-year-old student who was attacked on a New Delhi bus while traveling with a male companion was flown to a Singapore hospital Thursday for critical medical care after being treated at a local hospital for 10 days. However, even with the transport to Mount Elizabeth Hospital, which specializes in multi-organ transplants, the woman was said to be in extremely critical condition. By Friday, the hospital's chief executive officer Kelvin Loh said the woman suffered "significant brain injury" and was surviving against the odds.
Despite efforts to keep the victim stable, her condition continued to deteriorate and she "passed away peacefully" at the hospital alongside her family Saturday, Loh said.
Though the victim suffered severe organ failure, the victim's brother blamed his sister's death on the delay in transport between the two hospitals.
"She could have been saved perhaps, but the decision came late," her brother said recently, according to India Today. "Mount Elizabeth Hospital had very high standards of hygiene. They could have prevented the infection."
The woman's body was returned to New Delhi Sunday, where it was cremated in private ceremony.
“We are all in shock. Nobody can accept this news," the victim's father told the Indian Express. "It is hard to believe I will never hear her voice again, she will never read books to me in English again."
As the victim's family struggles to face the shock of the young woman's death, protesters and politicians alike have used this horrific attack as a catalyst, sparking a fervent debate over what India needs to do to stop sexual assaults on women.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau, the number of reported incidents of rape in India has dramatically increased from 2,487 cases in 1971 to 24,206 cases in 2011.