How they see us: Kansas shooting sparks fear in India
Trump’s America has turned deadly for Indians, said The Free Press Journal (India) in an editorial. Indian software engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, was shot dead last week and his friend Alok Madasani, 32, was left seriously wounded after they were attacked in an Olathe, Kan., bar by a drunken U.S. Navy veteran. It was an obvious hate crime. Adam Purinton, 51, had harassed the two men—both employees of GPS navigation firm Garmin—asking if they were “illegals” or Middle Easterners. Purinton was thrown out when patrons complained, but he returned with a gun and opened fire at the Indians, yelling, “Get out of my country!” He was later arrested. The Trump administration won’t call the shooting racially motivated, but the sooner it denounces it as such, “the better it would be for the petrified Indians and other immigrants.” The U.S. has been “an El Dorado for Indians, most of whom go to the country armed with impeccable degrees.” Now the nearly 3 million Indian students and workers there are living in fear.
Already, Indians are reconsidering working or studying in the U.S., said The Meghalaya Times. Students say they are switching their postgrad plans to Canada or Australia. Some young people are still “willing to take a risk” on America, but parents are pressuring them to stay away, fearful of the surge in xenophobic hate crimes that followed Donald Trump’s election. Madasani’s father said he had begged his son to return to India after Election Day, and now he is appealing to “all the parents in India” not to send their children to America—it’s just too dangerous.
So much for the Hindu faith in Trump, said Abhishek Sikhwal in DailyO.in. During the presidential race, Hindu nationalists embraced Trump as a kindred spirit, partly for his constant denunciations of radical Islam. How could they not realize that their “support for a bigot who never hid his disdain for immigrants” would eventually backfire on Indian immigrants? When the leader of a country is openly xenophobic, it legitimizes racism and lets people like Purinton “think that their actions will have no consequence.” And now Trump is devising new ways to hurt India. His administration wants to slash the H-1B temporary visa program, which lets companies bring highly skilled foreign workers to America. “This could be a massive blow to India’s IT industry”—more than 60 percent of the U.S. employees of Indian outsourcing giant Infosys are H-1B holders.
Yet there’s still a good and welcoming side to America, said The Indian Express in an editorial. A white American, Ian Grillot, was also hospitalized after the Kansas shooting, having been shot in the hand and chest while trying to rush Purinton. Grillot “is an antithesis to the gunman’s psychopathic racism.” And we are encouraged by the hundreds of Kansans who attended a vigil for Kuchibhotla. Still, it will take much more “to beat back the white nationalist forces President Trump’s government has unleashed.”