Sushma Swaraj back in Parliament, addresses attacks on Indians in US

Sushma Swaraj says the US has assured India of speedy justice in the recent spate of attacks against Indians and Indian-origin Americans in that country


Sushma Swaraj had undergone kidney transplant surgery in December. Photo: HT
Sushma Swaraj had undergone kidney transplant surgery in December. Photo: HT

New Delhi: The US has assured India of speedy justice in the recent spate of attacks against Indians and Indian-origin Americans in the US, Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj said on Wednesday, adding that the government was not looking at issuing a travel warning against that country.

In a statement to Parliament, in her first public appearance in four months during which she underwent a kidney transplant, Swaraj said the US authorities “assured us that they are working with all concerned agencies to ensure speedy justice.”

India has raised the issue of suspected hate crimes with American authorities “at very high levels,” Swaraj said.

The minister’s comments come after the deaths of one Indian working in the US on an H-1B visa and an Indian-origin American citizen in the past month.

Two others have been injured in three incidents.

“I would say that prompt and clear response of the US political leadership and the law enforcement authorities to these incidents and the widespread messages of sympathy and support from all quarters in the US give us confidence that these incidents are acts of individuals and do not represent the overwhelming sentiments of the American people towards India,” Swaraj said.

On 22 February, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, was shot dead by a US national who reportedly shouted “Get out of my country!” in a crowded bar in the Kansas City suburb of Olathe. Another Indian national, Alok Madasani, was injured in the incident while American Ian Grillot, who tried to stop the shooting, was also shot and injured. The attack was being investigated as a “hate crime”, Swaraj said.

The Kansas shooting was followed by another on 2 March, in which Harnish Patel, a US national of Indian origin, was shot dead by unknown people in South Carolina. In a third incident, on 4 March, Deep Rai, another US national of Indian origin, was shot by an unknown person near Seattle in Washington State, allegedly after being asked to leave the country.

India has taken up the issue with the US at very high levels and sought steps to ensure the safety and security of Indians and expeditious investigation into these incidents, Swaraj said.

The external affairs minister was referring to meetings foreign secretary S. Jaishankar had with cabinet ministers as well as with the Congressional leadership.

“There has been widespread condemnation of these incidents by the US leadership, both in the Administration and the Congress,” Swaraj said, recalling US President Donald Trump’s condemnation of the Olathe shooting in a speech to the joint session of the US Congress.

Trump, who took office on 20 January, was elected to office on an anti-immigration campaign plank as well as an “America First” economic policy that included “Buy American” and “Hire American.”

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