A 20-year-old woman from the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, who had secured 98 per cent in her class 12 board exams in 2018 and then got a full-time scholarship at a US university, was killed on August 10 in a road accident in the state's Bulandshahr district.
The family of the deceased, Sudeeksha Bhati, has alleged that she got into an accident because two men on a bike chased her, who was on a separate motorcycle with her uncle and brother, while trying to harass her.
While, the district administration has said the officials probing the case have found no proof of harassment, the police is investigating closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage that shows the two men, according to Indian media reports.
The student had returned from the US in June during the coronavirus pandemic and was supposed to go back in August.
In 2018, she had made it to the Babson College in Massachusetts after she topped her district in Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) class 12 exams.
"There were two men on the other bike. They were passing comments on her and were driving recklessly," Omkar Bhati, a family member of the deceased said.
"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 brother, recalling the moments before the accident.
A video was posted on Twitter of Satender speaking about the accident by Bulandshahr Police, @bulandshahrpol.
However, in the clip, he did not talk about the harassment the woman allegedly faced.
On August 11, the police also posted a video of an official saying that the matter is being investigated.
Contradicting the family's claims, Ravindra Kumar, the district magistrate told media: "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 incident was discussed on social media as netizens expressed their grief.
Tweep @Zebaism wrote: “Such a bright life lost. Bulandhshahr’s topper who studied in the US on a full scholarship has died in a road accident. What’s worse? She was being harassed by bikers and that led to the accident, her family alleges. She could have done so much with her life. #UttarPradesh.”