Sikhs ask US government to prevent hate crime on priority; FBI joins Kent shooting probe

Namrata Tripathi
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After the third Indian-origin person was targeted in the United States last week, the latest a Sikh, Sikh organisations in the states are increasing efforts to bring more awareness among people and have urged the US authorities to make hate crime prevention a top priority.

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The latest victim in a series of hate crimes against Indian-origin community, Deep Rai, was shot by an unidentified gunman while he was working in his driveway in the East Hill neighbourhood of Kent, Seattle, around 8 pm on Friday. Reports state that the assailant shot Rai in his arm before asking him to "go back to your own country." The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FB) has joined the probe in the case, which is being treated as a "potentially hate-motivated crime."

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This is the third attack on the community in a span of a fortnight. Last week, an Indian-origin businessman Harnish Patel was shot outside his home in South Carolina.The killing came shortly after Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla was killed last week in a Texas bar after the assailant asked him to go "back to his own country."

The attacks have increased the feeling of dread in the community, and people are responding with fear and disbelief at the sudden spate of attacks.

Indian American Congressman Ami Bera condemned the recent attack and said that that fight against hate crimes should start with the US President Donald Trump.

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"Xenophobia and racism have no place in America, and we as a nation need to stand up to these hate crimes — starting with the President. Thankfully, the victim is recovering, and my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family...This disturbing crime is an outrage that goes against everything we stand for as a nation of immigrants. On the heels of the Kansas shooting, crimes motivated by hate are on the rise," Bera said.

Washington Senator Maria Cantwell also condemned the shooting and said that she stands with the Sikh community.

"Thoughts and prayer go out to the Sikh man shot in Kent. I stand with the Sikh community and condemn these acts," Cantwell said.

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