- Sudeeksha Bhati had returned from US in June amid coronavirus pandemic
- She was studying at the Babson College in Massachusetts
- The state should take swift action against the accused, BSP demanded
A 20-year-old woman from western Uttar Pradesh, who overcame many odds to secure 98 per cent in her class 12 board exams in 2018 and then went on to receive a full-time scholarship at a prestigious university in the United States, was killed on Monday in a road accident in the state's Bulandshahr district.
The family of Sudeeksha Bhati, the woman who died, has alleged that she met with an accident because two men on a bike chased the 20-year-old - who was on a separate motorcycle with her uncle - and tried to harass her. The district administration has said the officials probing the case have found no proof of harassment. However, a CCTV footage that shows the two men is being investigated by the police.
The student from Bulandshahr had returned from US in June amid the novel coronavirus pandemic and was scheduled to go back in August. Two years back, she had made it to the prestigious Babson College in Massachusetts after she topped her district in CBSE class 12 exams in the Humanities stream.
On Monday, she, her uncle and her cousin left on a bike from their village in UP's Gautam Budh Nagar and were on their way to a relative's place in Bulandshahr's Sikandrabad to get some academic documents from a school, when the incident took place, according to the family.
"There were two men on the other bike. They were passing comments on her and were driving recklessly," said Omkar Bhati, a family member.
"When we crossed the Bulandshahr town, we entered a village. A bike then overtook us several times; the biker was driving recklessly. He then started performing stunts. I slowed down my motorcycle but the other bike hit ours. All of us fell but my niece suffered head injuries. I could not recognise the driver of the other bike and he escaped shortly after we met with the accident," said Satender Bhati, Sudeeksha's uncle, recalling the moments before accident.
Contradicting the family's claims, Ravindra Kumar, the district magistrate, today told the reporters: "The motorcycle was being driven by her brother, a minor, and not Sudeeksha's uncle. So far, there is no evidence of harassment."
Amid claims by the district magistrate that Sudeeksha's uncle was not present at the time of the accident, the family has said that all three of them - Sudeeksha, her brother and uncle - were on the bike.
The Bulandshahr Police earlier this morning said they spoke to the eyewitnesses.
"The police team that went to the spot had questioned eyewitnesses who said a Royal Enfield Bullet was coming from the front and it suddenly stopped (near their bike) because of the traffic, which led to the accident. The body of the woman was sent for the postmortem. At that time when the accident happened, the relative or any eyewitness had not spoken about any harassment," said Atul Shrivastava, a senior police officer in Bulandshahr.
The police had earlier stressed that Sudeeksha's cousin was with her at the time of accident. In a video uploaded on Twitter, the boy can be heard recounting the moments before the accident, however, he did not talk about the harassment the woman faced.
Sudeeksha's journey from a village in Uttar Pradesh to a prestigious American university was one of grit and determination. She was one of the few girls in her village who had gone to a school.
A student of Vidya Gyan School, an initiative of the Shiv Nadar Foundation, Sudeeksha had scored a perfect 100 in two subjects - History and Economics; she scored 99 in Geography.
The incident has prompted shock and anger on social media. In a tweet, former UP chief minister and BSP chief Mayawati said: "In Bulandshahr, a promising student - Sudeeksha Bhati - who was travelling on a bike with her uncle lost her life due to misdeeds of bikers. This is highly tragic, shameful and condemnable. How will daughters progress? BSP demands the state should take swift action against the accused."