External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj returns to Parliament, says incidents in US ‘act of individuals’

She highlighted the steps taken by the government following three recent incidents of attacks, including suspected hate crimes.

Published: 15th March 2017 02:45 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th March 2017 08:21 PM   |  A+A-

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj (File | PTI)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday sought to assuage the concerns of Parliamentarians over physical attacks against Indians in the US qualifying them as “acts of individuals” and not representative of the sentiments of Americans towards India.

After a hiatus of few months to recuperate from kidney transplant, the Minister returned to active politics to receive a warm welcome from her colleagues in the Lok Sabha and gave her first oral statement on the slew of attacks against Indians since the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

“I would say that prompt and clear response of the U.S. political leadership and the law enforcement authorities to these incidents and the widespread messages of sympathy and support from all quarters in the U.S give us confidence that these incidents are acts of individuals and do not represent the overwhelming sentiments of the American people towards India,” Swaraj said while explaining her Ministry’s decision to not to issue an advisory against Indians travelling to the US. 

The 64-year-old Minister, who have heralded a new era of twitter diplomacy and has been active in providing succor to distraught Indians through her Twitter account, assured the House that the “security and safety” of the Indian Diaspora remains a top priority for the government. “We are in a continuous dialogue with the US Government,” said Swaraj, looking rested and healthy in her trademark blue Saree and jacket. She has been advised by doctors to minimise human contact for few months to thwart any chances of infection after the Kidney transplant.

She said that the wider sentiments of the US society were reflected in the heroism of Ian Grillot, an American national who suffered serious injury while trying to save the two Indians hurt during the Kansas shooting. “I have saluted his heroism and am sure the House joins me in wishing him speedy recovery,” Swaraj said.

In last three weeks, three incidents of physical attack in the United States on Indian nationals and Persons of Indian Origin have come to the notice of the Government. The first one was on February 22, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, a 32-year-old Indian engineer at GPS device-maker Garmin was shot dead by a US national in a crowded bar in Kansas City suburb of Olathe. Another Indian national, Alok Madasani, present on the spot was also injured in the shooting.  It was established as a ‘hate crime’. But the other two incidents, also under investigation, are yet to be confirmed as racially motivated.

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