India promises action on rape

India promises action on rape

India promises action on rape

Updated 28 December 2012, 7:39 AEDT

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government pledges to protect the women of India

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has pledged to take action to protect the country's women, while the victim of a brutal attack on a New Delhi bus was flown to Singapore for treatment of severe internal injuries.

The rape and beating of the 23-year-old student on December 16 triggered mass protests in Delhi and other parts of India demanding the government crackdown on the daily harassment faced by Indian women.

Some protesters have called for the death penalty for rapists, who under current laws face a maximum of life imprisonment.

Near daily protests have shut down the centre of the capital for days since the attack.

Mr Singh says his government has set up an inquiry to look at speeding up sexual assault trials, and another to examine what can be done to improve women's safety.

"The safety and security of women is of the highest concern to our government. A commission of inquiry is being set up to look into precisely these issues in the capital."

Treatment in Singapore

The victim of the gang rape is being treated in Singapore, where she was flown by air ambulance overnight.

Reports said India's cabinet had cleared the way for her to go abroad and the government issued passports for the woman and her parents.

The Medical Superintendent at the Delhi hospital where she was being treated, B.D. Athani, says the treatment could last for weeks.

"Accordingly it has been decided that the patient be shifted abroad for further treatment at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Singapore, as advised by the team of doctors. The said hospital has a state-of-art multi-organ heart transplant facility. The arrangements have also been made for the family to accompany her, as the treatment may take longer period."

Indian police have arrested all six suspects in the case.

ABC, wires