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Hate Crime on the Rise in US, Says Indian American Congressman Ami Bera

Deep Rai(39), a US national of Indian-origin, was shot outside his home on Friday by a partially-masked gunman who shouted "go back to your own country", in a suspected hate crime.

Press Trust Of India

Updated:March 6, 2017, 8:02 AM IST
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Hate Crime on the Rise in US, Says Indian American Congressman Ami Bera
Indian American Congressman Ami Bera

Washington: Indian American Congressman Ami Bera has condemned the shooting of an Indian-origin Sikh man in Kent, saying crime motivated by hate are on the rise even as FBI joined probe into the "potentially hate-motivated crime".

"This disturbing crime is an outrage that goes against everything we stand for as a nation of immigrants," Bera said in a statement in which he condemned the shooting of an Indian American Sikh man in Kent, Washington.

"On the heels of the Kansas shooting, crimes motivated by hate are on the rise," Bera said.

Deep Rai(39), a US national of Indian-origin, was shot outside his home on Friday by a partially-masked gunman who shouted "go back to your own country", in a suspected hate crime.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating this as potentially hate-motivated.

"The Seattle FBI is assisting the Kent Police Department through a joint investigation of the shooting incident.

"The FBI remains committed to investigating crimes that are potentially hate-motivated and we continue to work with all our community partners in the Seattle area," said FBI Seattle Spokesperson Ayn Dietrich.

The FBI is also investigating another shooting in Kansas last week as a hate crime, in which 32-year-old Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla was killed when 51-year-old US Navy veteran Adam Purinton opened fire at him and his friend Alok Madasani, yelling "get out of my country".

"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," said Bera, the three-term Indian American Congressman from California.

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

The Sikh Coalition praised Kent Police for swiftly moving to investigate the incident as a hate crime. "We applaud the decision by the Kent Police Department to pursue a hate crime investigation," said Sikh Coalition interim program manager, Rajdeep Singh.

"We are all accountable for what happened in Kent," said Seattle-area community leader, Jasmit Singh.

"From the gunman's family and friends who can help bring him to justice, to our elected officials who create public policy at home and in Washington DC, we all must do more to confront this growing epidemic of hate violence," he added.

The Coalition also urged the Trump Administration to take concrete actions to prevent the recurrence of such crimes.

"Immigrants and religious minorities are being attacked around the nation, but the Trump administration has not even created a task force to address this issue...," Rajdeep said, adding "The White House needs to show leadership in preventing hate violence.

US assures India of speedy justice to Indian-American victims

The US on Sunday assured India of working with all agencies to ensure "speedy justice" to the Indian-American victims of bias-related incidents.

"State Department, on behalf of US Govt, expressed condolences and assured they are working with all agencies concerned to ensure speedy justice," the Indian Embassy in the US said in a series of tweets.

India's Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna reached out to the State Department to convey his "deep concerns" to US government on recent tragic incidents involving Hardish Patel and Deep Rai.

Sarna also "underlined" need to prevent such incidents and protect Indian community.

Indian Embassy officials are in constant communication with local police officials in both the cases.

In the case of Patel, the County Sheriff has pointed out that this may not be a hate crime. "We will remain in touch with them," an Indian Embassy source said.

The Consulate General of India in Atlanta has deputed a consular official to meet the family and offer condolences and any required assistance.

"It is also in touch with the local community organisation of expat Indians, including those from Gujarat," sources said.

"I condemn this hateful act, the shooting of a local man because is a Sikh. We all must stand together," said Congressman Rick Larsen.

There have been a slew of bias-related incidents in the US, raising concerns over the safety of Indian-American community.

Patel, 43, the owner of a convenience store in Lancaster County, South Carolina, was found dead of gunshot wounds in the front yard of his home on Thursday.

Rai, 39-year-old Sikh, has been shot outside his home by a partially-masked gunman who shouted "go back to your own country", in a suspected hate crime.

A series of troubling cases have reported where members of the Indian community have been targeted in apparent hate crimes.

It comes close on the heels of shooting in Kansas last month in which 32-year-old Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla was killed when 51-year-old US Navy veteran Adam Purinton opened fire at him and his friend Alok Madasani, yelling "get out of my country".

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