New Delhi: India demanded the “strongest action” from the US government Sunday after an Indian expatriate was killed and another wounded in a suspected hate crime in the midwestern state of Kansas.
Indians at home and in the United States have expressed shock at the shooting of the two young engineers by a drunk white man who allegedly screamed “Get out of my country!”
The two men, who had been living in the US for the last few years, were targeted at a bar in Olathe, a suburb of Kansas City, late Wednesday.
“USA should respond to this incident. American President and people of America, they should come out openly to condemn such actions… and then take strongest action,” Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu was quoted by the Press Trust of India as saying.
Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, was killed and Alok Reddy Madasani, 32, wounded in the attack. Both worked as aviation systems engineers for GPS manufacturer Garmin.
“These kind of incidents involving racial discrimination are shameful,” Naidu said in the southern city of Hyderabad where the victims’ families live.
“They will dent the image of USA. So the US President, administration and civil societies should unequivocally respond and condemn such incidents.”
US authorities late Wednesday detained 51-year-old Adam Purinton at a restaurant after he claimed he had killed two Middle Easterners.
He has been charged with premeditated first-degree murder and two counts of attempted premeditated first-degree murder and is being held on a $2 million bond.
The FBI is trying to determine if the shooting was a hate crime.
Madasani has now been released from hospital and his parents were due to leave for the United States late Sunday.
His father Jagan Mohan Reddy, a chief engineer with the Telangana state government, told AFP they would spend at least a week in the US before “taking stock of what to do (next)”.
“They lost a dear friend (Kuchibhotla) in the attack but somehow, by God’s grace, my son survived,” Reddy said.
He said his son and the deceased were very good friends and had known each other for at least six or seven years in the US.
“It is unthinkable that they have been separated like this,” Reddy added.
The shooting has made headlines in the Indian media, amid concern that the hardline immigration policies of President Donald Trump may have created the climate for such an attack.
The Indian community in the United States reached out over the weekend in solidarity with the victims.
“There’s no place for senseless violence & bigotry in our society,” tweeted Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, one of the most prominent Americans of Indian descent.
“My heart is with the victims & families of the horrific shooting in Kansas.”
A GoFundMe online fundraiser page was quickly set up after the shooting, and as of Sunday had collected more than $600,000 — much of it in small contributions of $5 and $10.
The money is to help with the funeral expenses “and other ongoing grief / recovery support costs” for Kuchibhotla’s widow Sunayana Dumala.
Dumala told a press conference Friday she was initially concerned about racism in the United States.
“We’ve read many times in newspapers of some kind of shooting happening,” she said, according to the Kansas City Star. “And we always wondered, how safe?”
Dumala credited her late husband’s spirit of optimism for the fact that they emigrated and she eventually found a job.
There are believed to be some 300,000 residents of Indian descent living in the United States.