A 20-year-old woman from Greater Noida, who was pursuing her higher studies in the United States, died after her two-wheeler met with an accident in Bulandshahr district of Uttar Pradesh. The family members of the woman have alleged that the accident took place because two bike-borne men were harassing her and chasing after her.
Sudhiksha Bhati, the daughter of a farmer, was a meritorious student who had topped in her intermediate exams and was studying at the Babson College in the US on a scholarship. She had come home for holidays and was to return to the US on August 20.
A district topper, Bhati had secured 98% marks in her CBSE exams in 2018 from the Humanities stream and after overcoming hurdles, financial and otherwise, she was pursuing her undergraduate studies in entrepreneurship at one of the most prestigious colleges in the United States.
But her dreams were nipped in the bud when harassment by two bike-borne men caused her vehicle to crash, killing her on the spot. According to reports, Bhati was going to a relative's house in Aurangabad when her vehicle collided with another bike in Bulandshahr. Her uncle, who was apparently driving the bike, said that two men started harassing them on the road and began performing stunts. This eventually led to a fatal accident.
Ironically, Bhati had launched a campaign, 'Voice of Women', in her village and neighbouring areas to encourage parents to send their daughters to school and to raise her voice against eve-teasing.
In an interview with NDTV in June 2018, Bhati had spoken about how she had been expelled from a private school at the age of nine because her father could not afford to pay her fees. Her taking admission in the village school also did not sit well with the family elders since it was unconventional for a girl in her community to attend classes.
"I believe in hardwork. And I know I am focused and determined enough when I decide to achieve something. Most importantly, it is important to be down-to-earth which shows that we are ready to accept criticism and continue to improve," she had said in the interview when asked about her success mantra.
But despite all odds, through years of hard work and determination, Bhati succeeded and landed a seat at a prestigious US institution, which had always been her dream.
The tragedy has shaken India to its very core. Social media flooded with condolence messages for her.
What is this behavior... Was it her fault.. To come to India to meet her parents.. Was it her fault... To travel in bike with her uncle.. Say now what was her fault... She wasn't alone She wasn't dressed inappropriately as you guys say.. Still she is no more...#bulandshahr pic.twitter.com/cF5NdH3IjU — Divya Raghuvanshi (@DivyaRaghuvan20) August 11, 2020
A young girl who was studying abroad on scholarship has lost her life while she was on her vacation in #bulandshahr because of Eve teasing. #SudikshaBhati needs justice. Raping, molesting, abusing,eve teasing... Treat girls as humans..#LetTheGirlsLive — Meenakshi Joshi (@IMinakshiJoshi) August 11, 2020
Sad to know about d murder of a meritorious girl in #Bulandshahr by d bikers. She was studying in Boston on a scholarship of 4 crores. This incident once again raises the issue of women safety in #India. Heartfelt condolences to d family. ॐ शांति ! #JusticeForSudeeksha pic.twitter.com/DxrLqRSwzY — Ashoke Pandit (@ashokepandit) August 11, 2020
Unfortunately, such incidents fail to surprise or even shock us anymore.
A few days ago, a six-year-old child was playing outside her house in UP's Hapur district when she was kidnapped by a man on a bike. He then brutally raped her and left her grievous condition in a field. The condition of the victim, who is undergoing treatment in a Meerut hospital, is said to be "extremely critical" as she has received "multiple injuries".
Last week, a 12-year-old girl was sexually assaulted and beaten up by a 33-year-old man at her west Delhi home. The girl is in a critical condition at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
We are in the middle of a global health emergency, but violence against women is a far more dangerous pandemic that doesn't to end.
Bhati had a bright future ahead of her. She was one of the first in her family to receive an education, definitely the first woman. She had set an example for hundreds of girls around the country and had proved that no hurdle could be big enough to shatter her will power if she did not let it.
Soon after her death, political parties started the blame game, with Congress and Samajwadi Party accusing the leading party in the state of not making the streets safer for women and for failing to curb the rate of crime in UP. But here's the truth - we failed her, collectively.
We should be hanging our heads in shame.