Thursday, March 9, 2017

Third attack on an Indian in 10 days in US: All you need to know about 'climate of hate'

The string of attacks on Indians, which started with the killing of an Indian techie in Kansas, has led to more people asking the Indian government to raise the issue of security with the US at the highest level. 

Alok Madasani. Photo: Reuters.
The attack on a Sikh man outside his house in Kent, Washington, was the third incident of suspected hate crime against an Indian in the United States in a span of 10 days.

In today's attack, 39-year-od Deep Rai was shot at by an unidentified person who allegedly yelled "Go Back to Your Own Country".

The attack on Rai comes barely 48 hours after an Indian store owner was shot dead outside his house in South Carolina in a suspected case of hate crime.

The string of attacks on Indians, which started with the killing of an Indian techie in Kansas, has led to more people asking the Indian government to raise the issue of security with the US at the highest level.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today tweeted: "Two more shocking killings of Indians in the US. GoI must take this up with the US govt on an urgent basis".

  1. The 39-year-old Sikh was working on his car in front of his house in Kent city of Washington state when the gunman described as white, who had his face partially covered, opened fire at him, police said.
  2. "We're early on in our investigation," the Seattle Times quoted Kent Police chief Ken Thomas as saying. "We are treating this as a very serious incident."
  3. According to KING5 TV, the incident was being investigated as a possible hate crime and police had reached out to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for help.
  4. In the recent spate of attacks, Harnish Patel of Lancaster in South Carolina, was killed on Thursday, and Srinivas Kuchibhotla was murdered on February 22 in Olathe, Kansas. Another Indian, Alok Madasani, who was injured in the Olathe attack, survived.
  5. Satwinder Kaur, a candidate for Kent City Council, said on Facebook that Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke has reached out to the victim. "This incident is such a big deal because hate crimes to this extent do not happen in our community," Kaur said.
  6. Sikh community leader Jasmit Singh told the Times that the 39-year-old was released from the hospital."He is just very shaken up, both him and his family," Singh said. "We're all kind of at a loss in terms of what's going on right now. This is just bringing it home. The climate of hate that has been created doesn't distinguish between anyone."
  7. According to Singh, Sikh men in area around Seattle have experienced "a kind of prejudice, a kind of xenophobia that is nothing that we've seen in the recent past".
  8. Before the Kent attack, the Sikh Coalition had released an advisory asking the community members to report instances of people "saying hateful things about your Sikh identity". In the aftermath of the Kansas attack, the coalition said: "We should not wait until someone gets hurt or killed to report hate incidents."
  9. Kent is about 30 kms from Seattle and is near the Congressional constituency of Pramila Jayapal, the Indian-origin member of the House of Representatives. Jayapal tweeted: "Thoughts and prayers to family and entire Sikh community in the wake of horrific shooting. This must be investigated as #HateCrime."
  10. On Thursday night, Patel was shot outside his house in Lancaster. Officials do not believe it was a hate crime. "I don't have any reason to believe that this was racially motivated," county Sheriff Barry Faile said on Friday.
  11. In the February 22 Kansas incident, an American, Ian Grillot, who tried to stop the shooting, was also shot and injured. A white Navy veteran Adam Purinton, 51, was arrested and charged with murder in the killing of Kuchibhotla. Purinton reportedly said that he had shot two Iranians.
  12. In his address to the joint session of the Congress, Donald Trump had said: "Last week's shooting in Kansas city reminds us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms."
  13. At a news conference in Washington on Friday, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said he had discussed the Kent incident with administration and Congressional leaders during his visit. "What we heard from very high-level, cabinet level that we should regard this as an act of an individual," he said. "The American justice system was at work, it could bring the perpetrators of this act to justice. It is being prosecuted as a hate crime," Jaishankar said.
  14. Hate crimes have been a part of the American fabric, including in the liberal state of Washington. In Auburn in 2012, a Sikh taxi driver was attacked by a man who thought he was Muslim. The attacker was sentenced to three years in prison for the crime.
  15. In 2015, Hindu place of worship in Kent, the Sanatan Dharma Temple, was attacked and had its windows smashed and the word "Fear," painted on it. Another Hindu temple in nearby Bothell was also attacked.
  16. Neither of these hate crimes were condemned by former President Barack Obama or the media.

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