Last month, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that every attack on Indian nationals in the United States should not be considered a ‘hate crime’ after concerns were raised regarding the rising number of such incidents. Swaraj said that she has been in touch with the investigative agencies in US and they are probing all the angles into recent attacks.
Ever since billionaire business mogul Donald Trump took oath as the 45th President of the United States, there have been a number of violent incidents reported against Indian nationals in the country. Here’s a brief account of some of the incidents that have occurred since January:
1) February 27, Kansas Bar Shooting: An Indian engineer was killed and another was injured after an American Navy veteran opened fire on them at a bar in Kansas City. The accused Adam Purinton, reportedly referred the victims Srinivas Kuchibhotla, and his colleague Alok Madasani as “terrorists” and yelled “get out of my country”, before opening fire on them. An American, Ian Grillot also got injured in the shooting after he attempted to snatch the gun away from the shooter.
2) March 6, Sikh man shot in Washington: A 39-year-old Sikh man, Deep Rai was shot by a partially masked man outside his shop. According to witnesses, the man approached him after which an argument broke out between the two during which the man yelled, “go back to your country” and opened fire. Rai sustained “non-life threatening” injuries in his arm.
3) March 6, Gujarati businessman shot dead in South Carolina: Two weeks after Kansas bar shooting incident, a NRI businessman of Gujarati origin, Harnish Patel, was shot dead in Lancaster, South Carolina. Patel ran Speedee Mart in Lancaster. He was on his way home from the shop when he was shot by an unknown assailant. The investigators have yet to discover the culprit behind the crime and are still investigating the potential motives behind the shooting.
4) March 18, Red Robin racial attack: A 54-year old American Jeffrey Allen Burges was charged with hate crime for assaulting an NRI and hurling racial slurs. The incident occurred on November 22 (just two weeks after Trump won the elections) at a Red Robin Restaurant in Pittsburgh. According to police, Burgess was sitting next to Ankur Mehta at the restaurant where he started yelling at him and then hit his head with his elbow yelling, “I don’t want you sitting next to me…you people.”
5) March 25, Sikh-American racially abused: While travelling on a subway train to a birthday party in Manhattan, Rajpreet Heir, a Sikh-American girl was racially abused by a white man. The man mistook her from Middle East and shouted “go back to Lebanon” and “you don’t belong in this country”.
6) March 31, Sikh doctor receives death threats: Amandeep Singh, a Sikh-American, received death threats from an anonymous caller. Singh, works as a general internist at Monroe Hospital in Indiana, received a message from an unknown person, who claimed he had murdered the number’s previous owner.
According to a leading hate crimes researcher, there has been an increase of hate crimes in at least nine US metropolitan areas since the 2016 presidential campaign. The California researcher Brian Levin also said that biased crimes motivated by religion, race and ethnicity increased in some of the cities after the November 8 election.