A 23-year-old woman was battling for life here Monday after a gang of men tortured and raped her in a moving bus and threw her out on the road along with her boyfriend, police said.
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit expressed disgust over the horrific incident even as police detained four suspects for the overnight crime and hunted for other accomplices.
While the 28-year-old boyfriend was discharged after treatment, 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.
Doctors said she had grave injuries on the stomach and intestine, and she bore signs of having been beaten with a blunt object.
Police said the attack took place when the young couple reached Munirka in south Delhi around 9.15 p.m. Sunday after watching a movie at a mall in Saket and boarded a bus to go to Dwarka.
"Around seven men, including the driver and conductor, told the couple they were headed to Dwarka," Deputy Commissioner of Police Chhaya Sharma said.
The men misbehaved with the woman. When the boyfriend intervened, he was beaten up, said Sharma. The woman was then raped in the moving bus by four men.
"Of the seven, four men committed rape. We have prepared two sketches of suspects," she said. The woman's ordeal lasted for half hour.
Both victims were pushed out of the bus at Mahipalpur in south Delhi at around 10.30 p.m. after their mobile phones were snatched.
A police vehicle rushed them to hospital after being tipped off by a toll plaza patrol that a young man and a young woman were lying sprawled by the roadside, Sharma said.
D.K. Mishra, 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.
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.
Sharma said CCTV footage of the bus was seized from a toll plaza in Gurgaon.
"A case of kidnapping, robbery and rape has been registered," she added. "Over 50 buses have been checked till now."
Chief Minister Dikshit pledged "strict action" against the attackers.
Education and Social Welfare Minister Kiran Walia said: "It is a shocking incident."
Mamta Sharma, chairperson of the National Commission for Women, was aghast. "If an incident like this can take place in a thickly populated area like Munirka, it shows the police are not alert."