Lucknow: The death of 20-year-old Greater Noida resident Sudiksha Bhati in a road accident Monday has taken a new turn, as Bulandshahr District Magistrate Ravindra Kumar has denied her family’s allegations of “harassment” by some men just before the accident.
The DM said in a press conference Tuesday that it was a case of an accidental death caused by her underage brother losing control of the motorbike they were travelling on in the Aurangabad police station area of Bulandshahr.
Sudiksha’s family had stated that her uncle was driving the bike, not her brother, and that some men riding a Bullet motorcycle had indulged in “chhed-chhad”, colloquially known as ‘eve-teasing’, while following them.
Sudiksha, daughter of Jitendra Bhati, a tea seller in Deri Skaner village in Dadri near Greater Noida, had secured 98 per cent marks in her Class 12 CBSE board exams in 2018, and then received a scholarship worth Rs 3.8 crore from the Babson College in the US for further studies. She had returned home to vacation with her family, and could not return to the US due to the lockdown.
Police debunk uncle’s claim
Sudiksha’s uncle, Satendra Bhati, spoke to the local media about the alleged ‘eve-teasing’ that preceded the accident.
“After some time, the man on the Bullet suddenly applied the brakes in front of my bike. I tried to apply the brakes too, but my motorcycle went out of control, causing the accident. My niece fell backward and received serious wounds due to her fall, leading to her death.”
Asked by journalists why he didn’t note down the Bullet’s registration number, he said it had ‘Jat’ written on the number plate, and the number was not easily visible.
However, the Bulandshahr police then tweeted a video of her brother giving a statement.
— Bulandshahr Police (@bulandshahrpol) August 11, 2020
According to the brother, it was he who was driving the bike, and not even wearing a helmet, at the time of the accident.
DM Ravindra Kumar then claimed the brother was a minor.
“The family members have hidden the truth about a minor riding the bike. Her brother could not properly handle the bike and it collided with another bike standing ahead of it. After this, Sudiksha fell from the bike and suffered a head injury. Later, she was rushed to the hospital, where she died,” the DM said at the press conference Tuesday.
The DM also said the preliminary investigations have not revealed any harassment prior to the accident.
He added that a police team is questioning the family members to get to the bottom of the case. “This is just a case of vehicular accident and all the remaining misconceptions are being deliberately spread. The family members are being questioned about why they suddenly changed their statement,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sudiksha’s father Jitendra said in a statement to the local media: “The police have not extended any kind of cooperation till now. Yesterday, when the post-mortem took place after the accident, not even an ambulance was not provided to ferry the dead body.
“I demand a thorough police investigation into this case, so that the accused are nabbed and such incidents can be prevented in the future.”
Opposition questions administration
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra highlighted the incident on social media and tried to corner the UP government.
“This incident in Bulandshahr has portrayed the reality of complete absence of fear of the law, along with an atmosphere of insecurity that’s spreading among the women in UP. It seems that the administration does not consider incidents of eve-teasing or harassment as too serious. An extensive overhaul is needed. There should be zero tolerance policy on all type of crime against women,” she wrote.
बुलंदशहर की घटना यूपी में कानून के डर के खात्मे और महिलाओं के लिए फैले असुरक्षा के माहौल को दिखाती है।
ऐसा प्रतीत होता है कि प्रशासन छेड़खानी की घटनाओं को गंभीरता से नहीं लेता।
इसके लिए व्यापक फेरबदल की जरूरत है। महिलाओं पर होने वाले हर तरह के अपराध पर जीरो टॉलरेंस होना चाहिए।
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) August 11, 2020
Former chief minister and Bahujan Samajwadi Party leader Mayawati also expressed outrage over the incident.
“A promising and meritorious student Sudiksha Bhati, who was travelling on a bike with her uncle in Bulandshahr, lost her life due to mischievous actions by eve-teasers. This is an extremely sad, embarrassing and condemnable incident,” she said.
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