Security of Indian diaspora matter of serious concern for government: MEA

Indo Asian News Service

New Delhi, March 9 (IANS) India raised the killing of Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla in a hate attack in Kansas with US authorities in "very strong terms", a top official said on Thursday, adding that the security of Indians and persons of Indian origin is a matter of serious concern for the Indian government.

On a day the issue featured in a major way in Parliament and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh assured the Lok Sabha that the government is taking the issue very seriously, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said in a briefing that Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar was conveyed by US officials during his talks in Washington that the attack on Kuchibhotla and another Indian in the February 22 incident was an "individual case".

Baglay said that the Indian Consulate reached out to the families of Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani, who was injured in the shooting in a Kansas pub, and also to the family of a Sikh, Deep Rai, an American citizen, who was injured in a hate attack in Kent last week.

"You would have also seen the response of the US authorities, beginning with President Trump who referred to the Kansas incident in his address to the Congress. The US Embassy had put out a press release condemning the Kansas killing. Speaker of the House has also condemned it," said the spokesperson, adding that there is wide ranging condemnation of such crimes within the US.

"This point has also been highlighted by various prominent US dignitaries that such crimes do not represent the views of the vast majority in that country. In fact, several senior US dignitaries have explicitly mentioned in the recent days that Indians are welcome in the United States," he added.

"Given the high priority the Government attaches to the security and wellbeing of Indians and persons of Indian origin abroad, we will continue to remain strongly engaged with the concerned authorities wherever required."

He also said that the government of Kansas has offered to provide support to the family of Kuchibhotla and has welcomed Indians to the State.

Referring to the letter of the Governor of Kansas Sam Brownback, Baglay said, "there is a sense of regret at the unfortunate shooting, commitment to prosecute the matter, support to the family of the deceased, and recognition of the qualities and contribution of Srinivas to Kansas."

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback on Wednesday wrote a letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing regret over the violence against Indians.

Another Indian, Harnish Patel, was killed in South Carolina 10 days ago, but the killing was not identified as a hate crime.

--IANS

rs/rn