The Dec. 16 rape of the 23-year-old student by the driver and five others inside the private vehicle with tinted windows and drawn curtains has so horrified the nation there have been continuous protests and vigils in the Indian capital since by tens of thousands of people, many of them college girls and women, demanding increased safety and much harsher punishment for sex offenders, including the death penalty. All the six accused have been arrested.
Doctors at New Delhi's Safdarjaung Hospital, where the rape victim is fighting for life with multiple critical injuries and damaged organs, said her condition deteriorated Monday, the Press Trust of India News Agency reported.
"Her condition has deteriorated... She is very serious, very critical and still not out of danger," one of the doctors told PTI.
Hospital Superintendant B.D. Athani said the woman had developed tendency for internal bleeding Monday night and was suffering from reduced capacity for coagulation. She has already undergone surgeries to control infection.
"Her bilirubin level has decreased to 5.5 and her lycolyte count is 6,000. These parameters are after supplementation of platelet. She continues to remain on ventilator. She is not as good as yesterday (Sunday) and she is para sick. She is running fever of 102 to 104," Athani said, blaming sepsis, PTI reported.
The victim, who has been receiving platelet-rich plasma, has been able to speak and doctors said she remains psychologically composed, the Times of India reported.
On the night of the attack, police said the woman and her male companion boarded the bus at a bus stop. Once inside, both she and her male companion were attacked and badly beaten by the six accused who were the only occupants in the vehicle. The woman was then raped and beaten by the men as the bus was moved. Later, she and her companion were stripped and thrown out of the vehicle, police said.
The two were found by highway patrols after some time and taken to hospital. She was reported to have lost much blood. Her companion, a software engineer, was recovering from his injuries, various reports said.
The protests have been intensifying with thousands occupying the India Gate war memorial leading to the country's main government offices and the presidential palace amid extraordinary police security.
The protests turned violent over the weekend, with police resorting to teargas shelling, water cannon hosing and even cane charging to disperse the crowds.
The protests were so widespread, authorities Monday had to move the venue of a meeting of visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has been appealing for calm.
Times of India said police have now cordoned off all access to the India Gate area, creating massive traffic chaos on arterial routes.
Authorities also have shut down nine stations of the Delhi Metro train transit. The report said the situation on Christmas Day was not expected to be any better.
The government has promised a number of measures to improve security for women and suspended some of the erring police officers.