A day after widespread anger over the death of a 20-year-old woman from Uttar Pradesh's Bulandshahr, who was studying at a prestigious university in the United States, a First Information Report (FIR) was filed on Tuesday, 11 August, night.
Sudeeksha Bhati, a teenager and a student of Babson College in Massachusetts, was home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
She died in a road accident on Monday and the family alleged she faced harassment, just minutes before her death. She was expected to return to the US on 20 August, and wanted to visit her maternal uncle once before leaving.
The family alleged that, at some point, two men on a motorcycle started chasing her, while she was traveling with her uncle and a relative on a scooter.
Sudeeksha’s uncle Satyendra Bhati reportedly told IANS:
“The men were passing comments on Sudeeksha and were trying to overtake her vehicle, performing stunts to impress her. Suddenly, their Bullet hit Sudeeksha’s scooty and she lost balance. Sudeeksha died on the spot.”
The FIR was registered in Aurangabad, under Section 279 and Section 304-A of the IPC and provisions of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 but there is no mention of the alleged harassment.
‘No Proof of Harassment’
The two men who have been identified with CCTV footage are being investigated by the police.
Sources in the Uttar Pradesh police force told NDTV that the FIR had been filed on the basis of the complaint filed by her father and that they could find no proof of harassment in the CCTV footage.
According to IANS, the state government spokesperson has, denied that the incident involved eve-teasing, and said that the family has not made any complaint regarding eve-teasing.
Head Constable Sukhpal Singh has also said, “We haven’t been told anything about eve-teasing”.
An Incredible Student
Sudiksha hails from a village in Uttar Pradesh.
A keen student, she was granted a scholarship worth crores of rupees to continue her education in the US, informs her family. However, access to education had never been a cakewalk for her. At one point, albeit temporarily, Sudikhsha even had to relinquish her education.
Sudiksha’s father had to take her out of school in her early years because of financial constraints, reported IANS.
Later, however, she was reportedly admitted in the village primary school, and noticing his daughter’s excellence in education, her father asked her to prepare for entrance exams to Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya and Vidyagyan Leadership Academy in Bulandshahr.
Sudiksha was admitted in the latter, reported IANS, where she studied free of cost till Class 12. Her school also helped her prepare for admission into foreign universities, and even funded her SAT and TOEFL tests. Finally, Sudiksha, along with three other students, secured scholarship for admission in a US university.
Her life, however, was tragically cut short, before she could even complete her education at Babson College, Massachusetts.“My daughter was a topper, she was studying abroad on government expense,” said Sudeeksha’s bereaved father.
Politicians React to Her Demise
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, in a tweet, attacked the Yogi Adityanath government over the Bulandshahr accident in which Sudiksha lost her life.
“There is no fear of the law in UP and women are getting increasingly insecure. It appears that the state government does not take incidents of eve-teasing seriously.”Priyanka Gandhi Vadra
She also shared a video of a speech by Sudiksha, in which she had pointed out that many girls in UP have to leave studies due to molestation.
“Today this problem killed Sudiksha,” wrote Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, insisting on the fact that young girls ought to be heard if a solution is sought.
Earlier in the day, BSP president Mayawati had tweeted:
“The promising student Sudiksha Bhati, who was going on a bike with her uncle in Bulandshahr, lost her life due to eve-teasing, which is extremely sad, embarrassing and condemnable. How will daughters progress? The BSP strongly demands that UP government take strict legal action against the culprits immediately.”