New Delhi: Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing “profound regret” at the terrible act of violence against the Indian nationals last month and said that acts of hate and intolerance have no place in his state.
Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, was killed and Alok Madasani, another Indian of the same age, injured in a shooting by navy veteran Adam Purinton, who yelled “terrorist” and “get out of my country” before opening fire on them in Kansas last month.
The Kansas incident and the two hate crime incidents against Indians and Indian-Americans since then have sent shock waves among the large Indian community in the US. “As Governor of the State of Kansas, I would like to express my deep sadness and profound regret at the terrible act of violence committed against Srinu Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani. The people of Kansas share in my shock and horror. Words cannot express the sorrow that we feel for Srinu’s wife, Sunayana, and his family in Hyderabad,” Brownback wrote.
“In the time since Srinu’s death, we have reflected on his life, and the words I have heard most often to describe him are that he was courageous, and that he loved his family, and that he respected elders. We strive to live in Srinu’s example of courage and love and respect,” he wrote in the letter dated March 3. Brownback wrote that Kansans have been awed by Sunayana’s grace and determination.
Her indomitable spirit has moved the entire community and they pray for her comfort and peace in this time of grief. Telling the Prime Minister that open arms of friendship are the very hallmarks of being a Kansan, the Governor said Srinu embodied the essence of what it means to be a Kansan. “His friends describe him as charming, caring and loving. He brought with him his immense talents and education and passion. His story is similar to the thousands of Indian diaspora who have called Kansas home over generations,” he wrote.
“They have enjoyed tremendous success through their ingenuity, hard work, and determination. Our state has thrived because of their contributions,” Brownback wrote, adding that he would like to personally welcome Indians to his state. “Before they moved here, Sunayana said: ‘Kansas was (the) instant choice.’ We are humbled that this was the case. I would like to personally welcome Indians to Kansas, and assure them that Kansas is a welcoming, hospitable place,” he said.
Noting that Sunayana also spoke about being without her family in Kansas, Brownback wrote in the letter that it is their solemn hope that the community in Olathe and all of Kansas may nourish and love her in the difficult months ahead. “Acts of hate and intolerance have no place in Kansas. Since our founding, Kansas have fought against injustice and senseless hatred. We are recommitted daily to protecting our family, our neighbors, our guests. We find wisdom and peace in the Sanskrit mantra ‘Satyameva Jayate’,” Brownback said.
The Governor had met the Indian Consul General Dr Anupam Ray in Topeka and expressed his sincere condolences and reiterated his strong commitment to providing a safe and welcoming environment in Kansas.