The United States has responded positively to India’s concerns over a string of recent race attacks, foreign minister Sushma Swaraj told Parliament on Wednesday, describing such violence as stray incidents that did not reflect the sentiment of most Americans.
Speaking in the Lok Sabha on mounting attacks on Indians on US soil, including the fatal shooting of techie Srinivas Kuchibhotla in Kansas last month, Swaraj said the safety and security of Indians living abroad was a “top priority” for the government.
Swaraj also rebuffed charges by Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and CPI(M)’s Md Salim of government’s inaction and said every possible help was given to Srinivas’ family.
“In all three cases (of attacks on Indians in US), the government has given all possible helps to the family of the victims. The government took up the issues at high level of the US administration.”
“We have expressed our concern over such incidents and asked for speedy investigation,” she said in her first speech in Parliament after recuperating from surgery last year.
Replying on the issues related to the killing and atrocities on Indians in the US, Swaraj said, “Even if there is one Indian in trouble we try to solve (the problem) in 24 hours.”
She revealed that after Garmin employee Kuchibhotla was shot dead by a former US soldier in Kansas, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked her “every day what MEA (ministry of external affairs) is doing and what it plans to do in future.”
While narrating the steps taken by the government and the US’ response, she maintained that the Indo-US relationship is based on the friendly relations between the people of the two countries.
“These are stray incidents and they don’t reflect the sentiments of entire America towards Indians,” Swaraj said, her first remarks on the attacks that have alarmed the Indian-American community.
Thirty-two-year-old Kuchibhotla and his colleague Alok Madasani, both employees at GPS maker Garmin, were shot by a former US soldier, who mistook them for Middle-easterners.
Since then, a Sikh man had been shot and wounded in his driveway in Kent by a white man in a mask, who shouted “go back to your country”. And then, a video surfaced of Indian families at a public park in Ohio, apparently filmed by an anti-immigrant zealot who could barely conceal his racism and distaste for Indians in the commentary.
The spate of attacks has left the three-million-strong Indian American community worried and many say they are concerned about rising anti-immigrant feelings in the country following a divisive presidential election won by Donald Trump.