Do we belong here, asks wife of Indian killed in US

Questions Trump govt's measure to stop hate crimes

Do we belong here, asks wife of Indian killed in US

The grieving wife of the Indian engineer shot dead in an apparent hate crime by a navy veteran in Kansas City said on Saturday reports of bias against minorities in the US make them afraid, and wonder “do we belong here”.

Sunayana Dumala, wife of 32-year-old Srinivas Kuchibhotla who was killed by Adam Purinton at a city bar on Wednesday, asked what the US government of Donald Trump would do to stop hate crimes against minorities such as the one that involved her husband. She, however, did not mention Trump.

At a news conference organised by GPS-maker Garmin, the company where Srinivas worked, she said: “He didn’t deserve a death like this. I don’t know what to say. We’ve always read in newspapers of some kind of shooting happening somewhere. I was always concerned, ‘are we doing the right thing staying in the US?’ But he always assured me good things happen in America.”

The tragedy has led to fears among immigrants, who feel targeted by Trump’s plans to ban travellers from some countries and build a wall along the Mexico border to realise his campaign pledge of putting “America first.” Several members of the Kansas City’s Indian-American community said the attack had forced them to think about their safety.

“The main reaction is shock because this is home,” said Samarpita Bajpai (45) who lives in suburban Overland Park and runs a non-profit Indian dance company. Samarpita said for the first time in her 20 years in Kansas City, she will try to refrain from being out late at night.

The shooting comes as some members of minority groups have expressed unease with the political and social climate in the US. The Southern Poverty Law Centre said in a report this month that hate groups proliferated in 2016 as Trump’s bid for the US presidency energised the radical right.

The greater Kansas City is home to about two million people with an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 Indian-Americans, said Vijay Ainapurapu, the former president of the India Association of Kansas City.

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