America, put an end to this mindless terror against Indian professionals
Racial slurs, hate crimes and the daylight murder of an Indian technology professional in the US have just moved up the number of serious issues confronting the Indian IT industry.
The shootout in Kansas leading to death of IT professional Srinivas Khuchibotla and serious injury to Alok Madasani at a bar in Olathe, Kansas, reflects a certain kind of American white mood that could be biased and motivated against foreign nationals. In that context, the American national narrative on immigration will have to change for the better.
Donald Trump’s vitriolic presidential campaign seems to have contributed to heightening tensions between the White populace and foreign nationals on work visas to the US. It is, therefore, no surprise that Indian Americans would be affected by this.
While the motive for US navy veteran Adam Purinton to kill Khuchibotla is yet to be conclusively established, over three million Indian Americans living the US dream have been stumped in aftermath of the Kansas incident. Eyewitness accounts say Purinton questioned the victims about their visa and challenged them to answer how they were better than him. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is probing whether it is a hate crime, has said that for now it has not found evidence of it being so.
The Hindu American Foundation, an advocacy group that has begun mobilising public opinion for a thorough probe on hate crimes unleashed against Indian professionals, is well within its right to do so. Organisations like the Hindu Republican Congress and Republican Hindu Coalition that lobbied hard with Indian Americans for votes and campaign money for Trump have a larger responsibility to sensitise the Republican administration on growing crimes against Indians.
These outfits, that consist of wealthy and successful Rightwing Hindus, must leverage their goodwill with president Trump to put an end to this mindless terror against Indian professionals. The new administration under Trump must come forward to provide to make them feel welcome. Indeed, this was the very question that Khuchibotla’s wife asked of the US government, whether Indians were welcome in the US or not. However, beyond making Indians settled in the US feel safe, the Trump administration will do well to look into the visa issue facing Indian professionals.
The combined might of Indian Americans and visiting Indian professionals cannot be ignored by any US government. Top corporate leaders of Indian origin must join hands to lobby with the US government to end this uncertainty.
While ensuring safety of Indians is the responsibility of the US administration, America will have to reconsider its visa policy that raises both tariff and non-tariff barriers. Prime minister Narendra Modi seems to have initiated a multi-dimensional dialogue to put across the Indian government’s view on the problem. The visiting 26-member bipartisan delegation of US lawmakers was reportedly given a ringside view of the Mode government’s standpoint on the matter when they met the prime minister three days ago.
Modi will have to work with Trump before any more Indians fall victim to xenophobia and racial rage. This highly-charged atmosphere against Indian Americans and professionals has clearly vitiated the atmosphere. These incidents will not only have a bearing on larger India–US relations, but also have an adverse impact on Indians seeking a career in US companies or enrolment in American universities. The frequent recurrence of hate crimes would eventually show on the performance of US companies in future.