I want to live, rape victim tells mother, brother

Battling for life at Safdarjung hospital, the 23-year-old woman, who was gangraped and thrown out of a bus on Sunday night, had to undergo a second surgical procedure on Wednesday morning. Doctors said they had to remove most of the remaining portion of her small intestine which had become "gangrenous" over the last two days.

Describing her condition as "very critical", Dr B D Athani, medical superintendent of the hospital, said, "A large part of her intestine had been damaged due to the injuries she sustained... Today, we decided to do an elective procedure to explore the wounds in her abdomen and examine the damaged organs. We had to remove almost the entire residual intestine."

The two-hour surgery began at around 10 am. By 1 pm, the woman was back on ventilator support in intensive care.

In the morning, when the woman was being prepared for surgery, she spoke to her family for the first time since the incident. "She spoke to her mother and brother. She was coherent, conscious. She has been fighting her injuries with great spirit," a doctor said.

Another surgery is not planned for at least a week. "We have to observe her and try to prevent the many complications that can arise due to the extent of her abdominal injuries. The threat of infection is still present. After the immediate crisis is taken care of, we will plan on how to manage her injuries," Dr Athani said.

Speaking to Newsline, the woman's younger brother said: "I met her this morning. She was crying but she told us she wants to live... this was just before she was being wheeled in for another surgery. It is our worst nightmare... to see her in so much pain. We are still not in our senses."

He wants capital punishment for the men responsible for his sister's condition. "They should all be hanged. It will not lessen my sister's pain but it will deter others from repeating such a crime," he said.

He said his sister had just completed a physiotherapy course and was awaiting her results. "She was looking for an internship here, we were so proud of her," he said.

Delhi BJP chief Vijender Gupta said when he met the woman's mother, she said her daughter told her she wanted to live. "She told me that her daughter had tears in her eyes, and said: Ma, I want to live," he said.

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar said the woman's father had sold his small land holding to help his daughter realise her dream of becoming a doctor. She quoted him as saying "we have to often live on just salt and roti".

"Her parents are very courageous, showing exceptional wisdom and maturity even in the wake of such a tragedy," the Speaker said.

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