Security guards man the entrance to the Lok Nayak hospital in New Delhi. A defendant on trial over a fatal gang-rape in New Delhi last December is critically ill after being attacked in prison, his lawyer.

Security guards man the entrance to the Lok Nayak hospital in New Delhi. A defendant on trial over a fatal gang-rape in New Delhi last December is critically ill after being attacked in prison. Photo: AFP

One of the six men accused of gang raping and murdering a physiotherapy student in New Delhi last year is in a critical condition after being assaulted by fellow inmates, according to his lawyer.

Vinay Sharma was attacked on May 13 in the country’s top- security prison and is in hospital recovering from his injuries, A.P. Singh, his lawyer said in a phone interview.

‘‘He is in a very serious condition, he has been very badly injured in the assault,’’ Singh said.

Three calls to the mobile phone of Sunil Gupta, a spokesman for Tihar jail, weren’t answered.

The alleged attack on Sharma follows the death in March of the bus driver who was accused of leading the group that gang raped the woman in a moving bus.

Ram Singh was found dead in his cell, hanging from a ceiling grill.

The brutal assault on the 23-year-old medical student as she returned home from the cinema on December 16 shocked India and reverberated around the world, triggering street protests and drawing attention to the scale of sexual violence against women in the world’s largest democracy.

The student died from her injuries two weeks later in a Singapore hospital.

In the brutal two-hour assault that followed, the woman was allegedly repeatedly raped before being dumped naked along with a male friend beside a road near New Delhi’s airport.

The couple were then ignored by passersby and police argued over where to take them as they lay bleeding on the street, according to televised comments by the man who survived the attack.

Neither have been officially named.

India was named the fourth-worst place in the world to be a woman after Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Pakistan in a 2011 survey by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The report cited female feticide, human trafficking, sexual violence and poor education for India’s low score in the global rankings.

Tihar jail, which houses many of India’s most dangerous criminals, has 12,000 prisoners, almost double the sanctioned capacity, according to the prison website, raising concerns about the inmates’ safety.

Bloomberg