Members of the greater Kansas City community participate in a Peace March around the Ball Conference Center before heading inside for a Prayer Vigil held for the victims of the Austins Bar shooting on Feb. 26, in Olathe, Kansas. An estimated 1,000 people attended the rally for the victims. (Kyle Rivas/Getty Images)
Indian Americans launched an online petition calling upon President Donald Trump to “clearly and unequivocally” denounce the fatal shooting of an Indian engineer in an apparent hate crime in Kansas city. America stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms, President Trump said, March 1, as he broke his silence on the fatal Kansas shooting, writes Lalit K. Jha. – @Siliconeer #Siliconeer #USCongress #TheWhiteHouse #IndianAmerican #KamalaHarris #PramilaJayapal #Trump #Immigration #TrumpImmigrationPolicy @KamalaHarris @PramilaJayapal @TiESV #TiESV #Hatecrime #Garmin
“We call upon President Donald Trump to state clearly and unequivocally that he denounces this incident. We would also like the U.S. Department of Justice and local law enforcement to investigate this murder as what it is, a hate crime,” said an online petition launched on the White House Web site.
“Anything less will be an injustice to the victims and their families,” said the “We the People” petition which has so far gathered more than 54,000 signatures.
The petition requires 100,000 signatures by March 26 to earn a response from the White House.
Launched by one SV on February 24, 2017; the petition says the “fatal shooting” of an Indian engineer allegedly gunned down by a Kansas man, Feb. 22 must be treated as a hate crime.
Joining the Indian American community, Congressman Earl Blumenauer said this hate crime and others like it must be condemned in the strongest possible terms, especially by this administration which has taken extreme government action against immigrants and has done nothing but signal intolerance.
“This extreme rhetoric and action is unacceptable for a U.S. President. He cannot continue to single out and target specific races and religions. Trump must start sending different signals, starting with expression of deep sympathy and rejection of bigotry,” said the lawmaker who was part of a Congressional delegation that has just returned from India.
Americans across the country and millions of Indian Americans were shocked and horrified, he said.
“The lack of acknowledgement or sympathy from Trump comes as information from his own administration says there is no proof showing his executive action banning Muslims will make us safer, and as we are seeing a rise in hate crimes, in particular the desecration of Jewish cemeteries and houses of worship,” the Congressman said.
“This needs to stop now. Trump should promote tolerance, inclusion and mutual support,” he said.
Indiaspora said the murder of Srinivas Kuchibhotla is a shocking and tragic incident.
“Based on the currently available facts as they have been reported, we believe that this heinous murder clearly fits the definition of a hate crime. Such hate-filled and xenophobic violence has absolutely no place in America,” said M.R. Rangaswami, founder and member of board of directors, Indiaspora.
Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) in a statement condemned the recent shooting death of Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla.
Its chairman Thomas Abraham said the “apparent hate crime” is vicious and GOPIO stands together with the victims’ families at their time of distress.
Congressman Elliott Engel, Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said that this act of hate resulted in the tragic death of Kuchibhotla.
“These acts of violence are deeply disturbing, and they are an obvious assault on America’s diversity and foundational values.
“I fear this shooting was a direct result of the climate of fear and xenophobia that has grown over the past few months,” he said.
“Sadly, our new administration has not spoken out against the rising tide of bigotry against Muslims, or against immigrants, and the manner in which the Administration rolled out it’s unconstitutional Muslim Ban has only furthered this trend.
Such violence cannot be excused or swept under the rug,” Engel said.
The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) also urged Trump to speak on the issue.
“It is our hope President Trump uses the opportunity he has when speaking on the special joint session of Congress later today to address the rising levels of hate violence in our nation,” Jay Kansara of HAF said.
In a separate statement, the Association of Indian Muslims of America urged Trump to take immediate steps to explain to all of his followers that they should desist from any hate speech or violence against Indian Americans and others who are peaceful people, and who have over the years contributed much to making America a great nation.
The senseless shooting of two young Indian engineers, Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani while they were eating lunch in a bar in Olathe, a suburb of Kansas city last month, has shook the strong Indian American community, said Kaleem Kawaja, executive director of Association of Indian Muslims of America.
“It is also shocking that neither President Trump nor any of his leading supporters have so far said even one word to condemn the shooting of these two young Indian American engineers.
Unfortunately that also includes Indian American Shalabh Kumar who is one of Trump’s top fundraisers and a member of his Presidential Transition team,” Kawaja said.
It was after much deliberation by various Indian American organizations, that President Trump reacted.
America stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms, President Donald Trump said, March 1, as he broke his silence on the fatal Kansas shooting.
“Recent threats targeting Jewish Community Centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week’s shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms,” Trump said in his address to the joint session of U.S. Congress.
By mentioning Kansas, Trump in his maiden address to the U.S. Congress, heeded to the call being made by a host of Indian American organizations and lawmakers to publicly condemn the fatal Kansas shooting which is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as a hate crime.
“I’ve been clear that the President must use this amazing platform to condemn this hateful act in no uncertain terms and send a powerful message that no American should be fearful in their own community.
“Diverse political and religious views are what make our country great, and I look forward to him utilising this opportunity tonight,” Republican Congressman from Kansas Kevin Yoder had urged Trump earlier.
“…I’ve been in contact with the White House regarding the senseless tragedy last week in Olathe that claimed the life of Srinivas Kuchibhotla and injured Alok Madasani and Ian Grill,” Yoder said.
“It is our hope President Trump uses the opportunity he has when speaking to the special joint session of Congress later today to address the rising levels of hate violence in our nation,” Jay Kansara of HAF said.
Meanwhile, the White House said that the President was keeping “in his thoughts” the family of Kuchibhotla.
“As more facts come to light, and it begins to look like this was an act of racially-motivated hatred, we want to reiterate that the President condemns these and any other racially or religiously motivated attacks in the strongest terms,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters during an off-camera news conference.
“They have no place in our country, and we will continue to make that clear,” Sanders said as the White House condemned the killing.
“The President is keeping the family of the victim, who was senselessly, killed in his thoughts, and we’re praying for the full and speedy recovery of those who were wounded,” Sanders said.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said, March 1, that the triple shooting at the Kansas bar was being investigated as a hate crime.
The FBI, along with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice’s civil rights division, is working with the Olathe Police Department in investigating the shooting.