India rejected on Tuesday media reports that a demarche was issued to the United States over the killing of a Hyderabad engineer, saying pro-active response of the American government and senior authorities in Kansas “obviated” the need for such an action.
Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was working at GPS-maker Garmin headquarters in Olathe, was shot dead by an American in a crowded bar in Kansas City in an apparent hate crime incident .Adam Purinton, 51, the alleged shooter, thought they were Middle Easterners and was heard telling them to “get out of my country” at the time of the shooting.
Kuchibhotla’s colleague Alok Madasani, also an Indian, and an American citizen, who tried to stop the shooter, were injured in the incident.
“It is important to note that the US authorities are engaged with us on the larger concern regarding safety of Indians in the US, a matter which continues to receive the government’s top priority,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay asserted.
He said the US government and senior authorities in Kansas have promptly responded to the killing of 32-year-old Kuchibhotla, and also drew attention to the strong condemnation of the tragic shooting by the US Embassy in New Delhi last week.
Kuchibhotla is possibly the first casualty of the religious, racial and ethnic divisiveness that has swept the US following the election of President Donald Trump, with minorities such as Jews and Muslims reporting a surge in attacks on them and their institutions.
The US Charge d’Affaires had stated that her country welcomes people from across the world and the US authorities will investigate thoroughly and prosecute the case, Baglay said.
“This approach is reflected in the sentiments and assurances from senior most authorities of Kansas, who have reached out to the Indian Consul General in Houston. These developments obviated the need for a demarche by the government on this matter,” Baglay said.
The spokesperson was reacting to a query on the media report that the Embassy of India in Washington had issued a demarche to the US State Department.
In Washington last week, Indian embassy spokesman Pratik Mathur had said in a statement, “Government of India has taken up the matter with the US authorities to express our deep concern and have asked for speedy investigation. US government while condemning the attack, have assured us that they are conducting a thorough investigation into the matter.”
Baglay also mentioned that “We also must not forget the noble and courageous gesture of the young American Ian Grillot, who risked his life while countering the shooter.”
Former US Secretary of State and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has asked Trump to “step up and speak out” on rising hate crimes in the US. Her comments came as the body of Kuchibhotla was flown to India and cremated on Tuesday in Hyderabad with grieving relatives, friends and neighbours gathering for the last rites.
The White House has said reports on the killing was “disturbing”. “I don’t want to get ahead of the law enforcement, but I was asked the other day about the story in Kansas -- the shooting in Kansas,” Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer said in his opening remarks at the daily briefing on Monday.