December 13, 2015

Budding UP basketball player commits suicide after suffering harassment

A budding basketball life in Uttar Pradesh was tragically cut short in Kanpur yesterday. Arzoo Shukla, an 18-year-old Class 12 student, was the captain of her school basketball team, played for UP state at the national level, and won a silver medal at an All India school tournament in Gujarat earlier this year. But harassment by an acquaintance and family conflicts led her to depression, and eventually, suicide, on Saturday, December 12th.

Since the event is so recent, the news is still murky and there's a big gap between the alleged facts and the truth. But it was reported in various media outlets this morning that Shukla's body was found hanging at her house in Kanpur's Chakeri area, a day after her classmate - Dinesh Sankhwar - allegedly attempted to rape her. Her brother Shiva first reported finding her body hanging from the ceiling fan in her bedroom.

Just a day earlier, Shiva had lodged an FIR against Sankahvar, accusing him of a rape attempt. Times NOW reported that there may have been some disagreements between brother and sister about Deepesh or Arzoo's depression over the harassment/rape attempt that led to her suicide.

Whatever the cause, it was unsavoury, and it needlessly led to the tragic early end of a very youthful life. Basketball in Kanpur, in Uttar Pradesh, and all over India has lost a young talent, and more importantly, a family has lost a daughter and a sister. There is an imminent need in the country for further conversation about support and care for victims of harassment and depression before it gets too late - as it was in Arzoo's case.

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