WASHINGTON: Indian-Americans have urged the US federal and state governments to take measures that inspire confidence among the community after the shooting of an Indian engineer in Kansas City in an apparent hate crime last week. "It is the time for the community to stand up together and do our best to support and prevent such a tragedy," Sampat Shivangi, national president of Indian-American Forum For Political Education said in a statement.
The forum was at the forefront to have the 'Nationwide Hate Crime' bill, that was passed by the US congress several years ago, but Kansas does not have such a law, he said. "A navy veteran has been charged with the first degree Murder under Kansas Law. So we must urge the Governor to support prosecution of these acts under the Federal Hate Crimes Act 18 USC 249.
As we learn that this law enforcement brings additional charges in Federal Court when bodily injury or death is caused by perceived race, colour, or national origin of the victim," Shivangi said. "We also must work on US Congress and our New President, that they bring pressure and they in turn condemn this heinous act," he added. Harbachan Singh, secretary-general of Indian National Overseas Congress, in a statement condemned the murder of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, by US Navy veteran Adam Purinton, who had yelled "terrorist" and "get out of my country" before opening fire on him and another Indian.
V Chowdary Jampala, president of Telugu Association of North America said this shooting, with its racial and anti-immigrant overtones, has caused a significant turmoil in the Indian and Telugu communities both here and back home. "Many people are worried about their safety and are concerned if this shooting portends future violence, in a new political climate charged with racial tensions," he said.
But Jampala added that his organisation believes this was "a random act of violence by an ignorant, bigoted, intoxicated individual with an access to a firearm, and does not represent an institutional threat to either Telugus or Indians."
The Indian-American community asked the federal and state governments to take steps that enthuse a sense of security in the community. "While the gunman committed a cowardly, heinous and evil act, Ian Guilott, by bravely risking his life and taking a gunshot to his body demonstrated to us all what is good about America, the America that we all believe in," Jampala said in a statement.