Shooting in Kansas bar sends shockwaves through India

Srinivas Kuchibhotla worked as an aviation systems engineer. Photograph: Family/GoFundMe

Srinivas Kuchibhotla worked as an aviation systems engineer. Photograph: Family/GoFundMe

The killing of an Indian-born engineer in a Kansas bar by a man reported to have shouted “go back to your country” before opening fire has sent shockwaves through India.

Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, and his friend Alok Madasani, both employees at tech company Garmin, were having a drink at a bar on Thursday when Adam Purinton, 51, allegedly shouted racist slurs at the pair and opened fire. Kuchibhotla, who was an aviation systems engineer, died in hospital. Madasani and Ian Grillot, a third man who had stepped in to defend the pair, were injured.

Adam Purinton. Photograph: Henry county sheriff's office/EPA

Adam Purinton. Photograph: Henry county sheriff’s office/EPA

Purinton, a navy veteran, has been charged with murder. Eyewitnesses say he believed the victims were of Middle Eastern origin and shouted “go back to your country” before shooting. Authorities have not yet classified the attack as a hate crime.

The incident has been front page news in India, which provides the US with some of its most skilled and highly educated workers.

Madasani’s father was quoted by the Deccan Chronicle newspaper as saying: “After this nightmarish incident, do we really need to go to work in the US?”

The shooting has sparked widespread concern among Indian parents who have children living in the US. One parent, Sreemala, from Kuchibhotla’s home state of Telangana, told NewsMinute: “My daughter is working in the US. I have made it mandatory for her to call me twice a day after the recent incidents happening in US.

“Last week, she forgot to call me at night and her phone was unreachable. I cannot explain my situation in words. I couldn’t sleep the whole night. After Trump, it has become worse. Earlier, there used to be frequent robbery on the streets, but now they are shooting our children. How we are supposed to stay calm?”

Since Donald Trump’s election, Indians have also been alarmed by his remarks about tightening the H1-B visa programme for skilled foreign workers.

The Hindu American Foundation condemned the killing, saying: “The murder of Kuchibhotla is the first reported bias-motivated fatality in the United States after the bitter presidential election.”

The US embassy in Delhi also condemned the shooting. “The United States is a nation of immigrants and welcomes people from across the world to visit, work, study and live,” the US chargé d’affaires, MaryKay Carlson, said in a statement.

“US authorities will investigate thoroughly and prosecute the case, though we recognise that justice is small consolation to families in grief.”

Read the complete article on The Guardian newspaper web site.