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Indian student threatens Bush online

Indian student threatens Bush online

An Indian graduate student at the Purdue University was arrested on charges of threatening to kill President Bush.

Washington: An Indian graduate student at the Purdue University, was arrested on Friday and charged with threatening to kill President George W Bush, Laura Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Vikram Buddhi, 34, allegedly posted the detailed threatening messages on an online message board, according to Chicago Sun Times.

Buddhi has been studying industrial engineering at the Purdue University, having moved temporarily from India to his new home in West Lafayette 10 years ago on a student visa.

He was originally hired as a teaching assistant in the Mathematics department but was removed from that position and is now a teaching assistant in the industrial engineering department.

Since this is a very busy time for college students, being immersed in studying for their upcoming finals, Buddhi's attorney John Martin said he hopes his client will be released from jail on Wednesday following his detention hearing, so he can return to studying.

Buddhi today sits in a jail cell somewhere in northern Indiana after a federal magistrate in Hammond ordered him held without bond till Wednesday under the belief that he may take a flight back to India.

A foreign national from India, Buddhi holds a student visa.

Buddhi posted his messages on a Yahoo finance board dedicated to Sirius Satellite radio, a site that receives two to three million hits a day, his lawyer said.

A concerned citizen contacted the Secret Service office in Dallas to report that a subject was posting threatening messages about Bush, according to the criminal complaint filed in Hammond's federal court.

Buddhi was arrested on Friday and told investigators he is not suffering from any mental illnesses nor is he taking any illegal or prescription drugs.

He said he posted the message, along with other derogatory messages aimed at the president, but Martin said Buddhi's actions should be covered by the First Amendment since Buddhi would have never actually carried out his threats.

But legal experts say he may have crossed the line - that threats against the president's life posted on the Internet are taking things too far.

In the various messages posted, Buddhi urged the Web site's readers to bomb the US and other messages called for the killing of all Republicans, according to the court documents.

"What was allegedly said certainly is derogatory and may be inflammatory," Martin said, adding, "But there's no real serious threat more than it was chat on the Web."

Many people post comments online that they may not actually mean, Martin said.

Martin also wonders why the US Secret Service questioned Buddhi in January about the comments, then didn't arrest him until Friday.

The Secret Service is responsible for protecting the president, vice president and foreign heads of state.

first published:April 28, 2006, 15:58 IST