Another Racist Attack On A Telugu Guy In US

Telugus in the US continue to face racist attacks, the latest being in a young student from Mancherial.

Clinton City: Racial attacks on Indians in US are causing acute worry nowadays. Telugu people could not forget the recent attacks on techie Srinivas at Kansas who was shot dead. Here is another instance of a telugu Student who was threatened at gun point on Sunday.

Sai Varun from Mancherial, Telangana,  is pursuing his higher studies at Clinton City in Mississippi State.  He is working as a part timer in a gas station on weekends.

A masked robber attacked him on Sunday morning and robbed money by aiming gun at him. AT that time Sai was on a video call with his mother in India. The robber asked him to leave US immediately or else he will face severe consequences. CCTV footage which covered the incident was handed over to the local police who are investigating the case. Face of the attacker was covered completely with a black mask and it became difficult for the police to find any clue of the robber

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American Who Stopped Bullet For Indian Techie Gets 100,000 Dollars

Houston: US citizenI Ian Grillot who literally stopped a bullet trying to save Indian techies Srinivas Kuchibhotla and his friend Madasani was felicitated by Indian- Americans here on Saturday with a purse of 100,000 dollars. Grillot was also hailed as a ‘true American hero.’ This happened at the 14th gala of India House Houston.

The citation said as an act of gratitude the Indian American community of Houston is trying to help Grillot to buy a house.

Srinivas was killed on the spot when a former Navy man shot at him in a restaurant in Kansas City. Murali’s body was brought to Hyderabad and the final rites were performed. Grillot took a lot of time to recover from bullet injuries.

The Kansas shooting has rocked the Indian community, which has been living amid concerns of rising hate crimes and racism in the country. The incident also raised tensions back home in India.

Ian Grillot also has an open invitation from the Indian officials to visit India.

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Two More Telugus Killed In US, Mother, Son Found In Pool Of Blood

Ongole: Even before the gruesome murder of a Telugu techie Srinivas Kuchibhotla at Kansas City by a racist was forgotten, two more Telugus were killed in Burlington in the US. Sasikala (40), wife of software engineer Narra Hanumantha Rao and their seven year-old son Anish Sai were found murdered. When Hanumantha Rao returned home after work on Wednesday he found his wife and son in a pool of blood. They hail from Timmarajupalem village in Paruchur Mandal of Prakasam district in Andhra Pradesh.

On seeing his wife and son dead, Hanumantha Rao called the police. Some unidentified persons were believed to have cut the throats and killed the mother and son. Hanumantha Rao has been living in Burlington for 12 years. Parachur MLA has spoken to Hanumantha Rao. More details are awaited.

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KCR Urges PM Modi To Take-up Hate Crime Killings In US

Hyderabad: CM KCR has urged Central Government and PM Modi to take up the recent killings of Indians in America  with authorities of the concerned Nation,US.

Hate crimes against Indians have increased and also shaken the confidence of the families of Indians working in United States, KCR wrote.

In his letter, KCR mnetioned about recent killings of Hyderabad Techie Kuchibhotla Srinivas and Warangal Resident Vamsi Mamidala.

Srinivas Kuchibhotla was shot dead in kansas  last month which  rocked Indian community and Indians back in the home country as never before.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said Indian Government is in constant touch with US regarding the hate crimes which are of the top most priority of the ministry.

American President Donald Trump broke his week-long silence on the killing of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, a tech professional from Hyderabad, in a shooting incident in Kansas City on Feb 22. In his address to the joint session of the Congress, Trump said,’Recent threats targeting Jewish community centres and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last werk’s shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a nation divided on politics, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.’ 

But Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not yet reacted.


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Candle Lights Vigil In Memory of Srinivas, Vamsi

Hyderabad: All India Peace and Solidarity Organisation has conducted s candle light vigil at Indira Park here on Friday evening to pay tributes to Kuchibhotla Srinivas who was killed in a hate crime in Kansas City s few weeks ago. It was Srinivas’ birth anniversary.

They also prayed for Vamsi Mamidala who was killed in the US recently. Hundreds of people participated in the programme. People shouted slogans denouncing hate crimes.

Relatives and friends of Srinivas who attended in large numbers have said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao should take measures to stop hate crimes against NRIs.

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Racism and India

Sanjeevani Kusum

Sanjeevani Kusum

“Racism is discrimination and prejudice towards people based on their race or ethnicity. The ideology underlying racist practices often includes the idea that humans can be divided into distinct groups that are different in their social behavior and innate capacities that can be ranked as inferior or superior.”

Racism in India

In India, right from a common person to the highest dignitaries, everyone would vehemently condemn if someone says that India is one of the most racist countries in the world but still when some surveys say so then it’s the time to introspect. We would not like to speak of India even in parallel lines with racism. But still in May 2016 at least five Indians were accused of assaulting Africans in New Delhi. A 29 year old French language teacher, Masoud Kateda Olivier, a Congolese national, was shot dead after a brawl with some drunken men. In February 2016, a 21-year old Tanzanian woman was allegedly stripped and beaten by a mob in Bangalore after a Sudanese man ran over a local. All these cases were dismissed by the authorities as stray and freak incidents which can happen to anyone in such a vast country. According to our constitution, India aspires to create a society where all the people belonging to different religions, castes, races and languages and gender are all treated equally. However, aspirations need to be lived for them to become reality. That India aspires to be a non-racist country doesn’t mean India is free of racial discrimination. We must remember here that racism doesn’t mean just the discrimination between black and white. Racism means discrimination in any form.

Racism Vs casteism

Casteism is the most complex form of racism in where the people are discriminated not only upon the basis of their color but also upon the basis of their occupation, their food habits, their languages, their dialect and what not. Indian government has always blocked the proposals at international forums to recognize or discuss casteism as a facet of racism saying that caste distinctions are based on social, occupational and economic considerations rather than genetic or racial differences and that casteism is India’s internal matter. No matter is internal matter when it affects the dignity, self esteem and security of millions of people. The various population groups belonging to different races stopped to intermingle and interbreed between themselves on Indian subcontinent about 1600 years ago or some 70 generations back when the caste system became rigid.  Differentiation which has been continuing for 70 generations upon genetic lines can’t be ignored just as social norm. Lack of evidence may prove the absence of race in India but not the absence o racism. White color has been venerated since ages in India. Even though dark skinned Krishna is worshipped all over, women would pray to him to bless them with a fair child. Matrimonial ads shamelessly announce that fair skinned bride only is wanted. Africans are called Negros or blackies. We discriminate not only upon the basis of color but also upon the shape of their nose or slant of their eyes. North eastern girls are taunted as chinkis in rest of India. They are treated with dishonor and molested without any hesitation.

India witnessed mass exodus of north easterners from Bengaluru after the city witnessed a spat of physical and sexual assaults upon the people from north east. No one can forget the hate campaign against Biharis in Maharashtra in 2008. For us all Biharis are goondas and all Punjabis are dumb. Any kind of discrimination, you name it and we have it. Inter-caste and inter-religious marriages are still a taboo and khap panchayats are still a norm. Today even in the ultra modern cities like Hyderabad and Ahmadabad we find residential ghettos, strictly allocated only to certain castes. They are not allowed even to rent them. While the reservation system has brought tremendous change in the lives of downtrodden people it has also made caste system much more deep rooted than ever since reservations are corded upon the basis of caste. Caste has influenced the policy making of the government. The programs, policies and declarations are made keeping in view the caste factor. The caste consciousness is brought forward at the time of elections when private TV channels create a whole new world in which anchors and experts shamelessly vie with each other to bring out the significance of caste factor.

How to root out casteism

The first step in dealing with casteism would be to slowly do away with caste base reservations in favor of income base reservations. Exclusion of creamy layer from reservations should be made practically possible. Casteism can’t be rooted out without the change in policy at the highest level but such change would be successful and fruitful only when it comes from people themselves. Caste will slowly lose its prominence once it is stopped given prominence at the policy making. Casteism or racism is a social construct and like any other social value, when it’s devolved from one generation to other without being questioned; it gives rise to the complex of superiority and inferiority. People should stop exalting the merit on the basis of caste or creed. Muslim writers associations, Dalit poets associations and such caste based groups give a sense of false identity to people where they start believing that what they are is more important than what they do. Such caste based groups should be discouraged. A person is not born racist or casteist. We teach him to be so. Stop inculcating such false identities in the minds of children. If you want to stop discrimination, stop talking about discrimination.

“You can’t be proud of something you have not achieved or earned, or you can’t feel inferior about something which you have not chosen or have control upon.”

(The author is Junior Lecturer in Zoology, Government Junior College, Kovvur, West Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh)

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I Can’t Change the Color of My Skin.

Tanvi Kodali

Tanvi Kodali

The color of one’s skin does not offer grounds for questioning one’s legitimacy.

I’ve been meaning to speak up about the Kansas shooting for the past week. But, every time I try to do so, I fail to articulate my emotions — my mind just stops formulating sentences mid-way and my eyes blur out my computer screen with tears of fear.

I was born in Hyderabad, India and immigrated to America with my mom 17 years ago.

For as long as I can remember, the word “home” evoked the images of the neighborhoods I grew up in, in central New Jersey — never India. Growing up, I never saw differences in who I was in the two places. I guess this was because my family always lived in predominantly South Asian towns. I had the privilege to unapologetically be myself: speak my mother tongue, wear the types of clothes my mom grew up wearing, eat the food my parents grew up eating, and celebrate the holidays my parents looked forward to as children. But, while doing all of this, I still pledged allegiance to the American flag every day of elementary school; my passport claims that I’m an American citizen; and, if you didn’t know my name, couldn’t see the color of my skin, and only heard me speak, you would think that I was an American. In my eyes, I wasn’t the hyphen that most people place between the Indian and American when describing me. Rather, I was, and still consider myself to be an Indian American. I’m not a fusion. Everything that I am, stems from the fact that I am Indian, and embracing that fact in this country — that I adore — is exactly what makes me American. I’m an Indian American.

At least, in my eyes I am.

For a while, I didn’t think Trump supporters existed. This was pre-election, of course. I mean, I knew that they were there…somewhere, but my naiveté, if you will, kept me in my liberal bubble. But then, I began to see MAGA bumper stickers, and merchandise in my home town, and my bubble burst.

The story I’m about to tell you may seem stupid. But, please, don’t question the validity of my fears.

This past summer, my family was entertaining an old friend of my dad’s. I was all dressed up — in a kurta, with gold jhumkas, and a bindi on my forehead — when my mom asked me to pick up drinks from Shoprite. Excited to be able to drive, I hopped in the car and drove to the shopping center. I remember feeling my heart drop the second I parked. Here I was, in the parking lot of Shoprite, a store I frequented, a store I’ve shopped at wearing Indian clothes on multiple occasions prior, realizing how blatantly Indian I looked. I shook away any feeling of discomfort I had, and reassured myself that embracing my heritage is exactly what made me an American. I used to appreciate the attention my Indian clothes got me. When I noticed people’s eyes, I saw admiration, curiosity, and an appreciation for my culture. But, I remember walking towards the entrance of the store that day feeling eyes pierce through me. These eyes didn’t seem to hold any sort of admiration, curiosity, or appreciation. Rather, I felt anger, irritation, and annoyance. I remember walking through the aisles of the store fearing that someone from somewhere would pop out and yell at me to go back to my country. I began to wonder if the admiration, curiosity, and appreciation I used to see were just figments of my imagination.

Was I that naïve?

The clothes on my back and the accent through which I speak won’t change the color of my skin. While what I wear and the way I speak say American, the color of my skin seems to scream my story a little differently.

To some, I’m a hyphen. To others, I’m an outsider.

My family never feared death or racism, at least not overtly, not like they do now. This was a great privilege, because I know that this is not something many people of color can say. My mother, the symbol of tradition in my family, someone I define as fearless and confident, taught me to be the same. She taught me to unapologetically be myself. She gave me the strength to have courage in my convictions. She ensured that my sister and I would embrace our heritage, and know what it meant to be Indian. The ability to speak my language, Telugu, connects me to the country my parents and I left behind. My mother enforced strict rules when I was younger: I was to only speak to her in Telugu. If I spoke in English, she wouldn’t respond. And because of her, I can speak the language fluently.

But the same woman, who would encourage me to speak in my mother tongue, called me the other day to tell me to not speak in Indian languages in public. The same woman who raised me telling me to go out and be outspoken and confident, is now telling me to remain inside and to stay quiet. Because at the end of the day, my safety is what’s important.

When I read about the shooting, and saw that I shared a birthplace with two of the victims, I thought about my family in America.

In Kuchibhotla, I saw my father, and in his wife, Sunayana, I saw my mother. And I cried.

This past week, I spent a lot of time wondering why the South Asian community isn’t responding to the shooting in Kansas the way I’ve seen members of other marginalized groups respond to hate crimes within their own communities.

Is it that we don’t care? It can’t be. Right? We care. Right?

I’ve seen the GoFundMe page that’s raised over a million dollars. So, we obviously care.

But, is money enough? By silently solving our problems internally, are we dismissing the greater issue?

Why is it that we don’t demand answers?

Is it because we care too much about reputation?

Is it because we fear that speaking up and finally having our voices heard and demanding our deserved respect could threaten all that we’ve achieved?

What is it that we as a community have achieved? The money in our pockets? The degrees on our walls?

Why don’t we define our achievements by our ability to speak up for what we believe in?

Why are we so concerned with outward perception that we constantly agree to put our heads down?

Why is it that we don’t see that we can no longer dismiss injustices and tuck things under the rug?

I understand that there is a greater pain that comes with being deprived of something we believe we deserve than of something we tell ourselves we don’t.

But, this isn’t okay, and it no longer makes things easier.

The excuse that this is not our country is outdated.

Silence is acceptance.

(The writer, Tanvi Kodali, is a student at Wellesley College, Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts, USA)

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Jana Sena Chief Reacts To Kansas Shooting

 Hyderabad: Condolences are pouring on the incident of killing Hyd techie Srinivas Kuchibhotla in shooting by a racist in Kansas. After Union Ministers, TS and AP state ministers condemned the act, last but not least is that the White House reacted to the incident describing it has hate crime.

Now it is the turn of Jana Sena President, actor Pawan Kalyan’s  turn. He urged Indian Government, particularly External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, to ensure safety to all who come to India from various places of the World and ensure the same with the people the Indian origin who are living in the US.

Elected governments and Corporate Institutions or firms should take the responsibility of ensuring safety of their residents and employees.

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President Trump Condemns Kansas Shooting As Hate And Evil

Venkata Kondubhatla

Washington (DC): President Donald Trump said in a speech delivered Tuesday that 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 of ugly forms.” It was the first topic in his speech.

Receiving a standing ovation for his statement from Congressmen from both the Houses, Trump said that he was there to deliver the speech of unity and strength. It is the message deeply delivered from my heart. A new chapter of American greatness is now beginning, he said.

“Our allies will find that America is once again ready to lead,” he said. Earlier the White House spokeswoman has told the press that the White House is condemning the Kansas shooting, but express doubt if the president is going to talk about the issue in his speech to the Congress.

Indian community has been waiting to hear from the White House and from president Donald Trump an assurance that the incidents like the Kansas shooting, in which an Indian Srinivas Kuchibhotla was shot and killed by a racist, would not repeat and that the administration would address the underlying issue of racism.

The president addressing the issue should bring some relief to the community. At the same time, President Trump stuck to the immigration plan that he was trying to impose earlier, such as building the wall.

Talking about the immigration, he said that his administration has answered the pleas of the American people for immigration and border security by finally enforcing the immigration laws, We will raise wages, help the unemployed and save billion and billion of dollars and make our communities safer.

“We must restore integrity and the rule of law at the border,” he said.

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TANA, Indian Associations Inspire American Dream Post-Kansas

Venkata Kondubhatla

Washington, D.C: Indian community has come together post Kansas shooting in support to one another and to voice against the tragedy that killed Srinivas Kuchibhotla and injured Alok Madasani at a bar in Olathe, Kansas. They also have praised Ian Grillot, one who took a bullet in an effort to save the Indians, as American hero. 

The Indian associations in the US have organized marches to show their support to Kuchibhotla’s family, and also to give assurance to one another in their belief for American dream. They have also voiced collectively to ask for that assurance from American government. 

Different Indian associations have taken part in their support their fellow Indian. TANA (Telugu Association of North America) and Indian Association of Kansas City have organized candle light rally, in which Madasani had participated along with many others. 

Chowdary Jampala, president of TANA, told PTI that this shooting, with its racial and anti-immigrant overtones, has caused a significant turmoil in the Indian and Telugu communities both here and back home. 

“A random act of violence by an ignorant, bigoted, intoxicated individual with an access to a firearm, and does not represent an institutional threat to either Telugus or Indians,” he said.

The Indian-American community asked the federal and state governments to take steps that enthuse a sense of security in the community, Chowdary said.

We are thankful that the ignorant bigotry does not represent America, he stated in his Facebook page. Such prejudice does not represent American values. And, we had a fine demonstration of these values in young Ian Grillot, who stood up to intervene in the face of bigotry, Chowdary stated. The complete text of what he stated can be seen here.

Indians in Kansas have taken the tragedy in their own stride. Vijay Ainaparupu, president for Indian Association at Kansas City, told Reuters that the city is “as welcoming as any other place in America.”

“Most of the Americans who have never traveled outside the U.S., they cannot identify who’s a Pakistani, who’s an Indian, who’s an Afghani and who’s a Sikh,” Ajay Sood, 50, said by phone to Reuters.

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Kansas shooting: Main Accused Adam Purinton Produced In Court

Kansas: Main accused Adam Purinton, who killed Hyderabad techie Srinivas in a hate crime at a pub in kansas was produced in court. This is his first appearance in court.

FBI is trying to gather evidence to prove  the charges on Adam and understand the situation that lead to the ghastly incident. Kansas, for the first time, was on record in crime in US records and if FBI agents prove that Adam’s actions constitute hate crime, he may be charged with Death penalty according to FBI sources

Adam Purinton is currently held in Johnson county jail with $2 million cash bond and Michelle Durrett will serve as Attorney for him.

Adam was charged with first degree murder and two counts of attempted first degree murder ( Alok and Ian Grillot).

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Kansas Racist Shooting Rocked Indian Community

Venkata Kondubhatla

Washington (DC): The Kansas shooting, where Kuchibhotla Srinivas, 32, was shot and killed by 51-year-old Adam Purinton at a bar in Olathe, Kansas, has rocked Indian-Americans and Indians back in the home country as never before.

Incidences happened in the past where Indians were killed in the US, but this is the first time that a hate crime has taken an Indian life. Indians were aware of the surge of racism and hate crimes recently in the country, but this is first of its kind that happened to them that they are unable to take and that has shaken their confidence in the country.

Indian community was targeted for various other reasons until now — for possession of gold, burglaries that targeted Indian wealth, or unfortunate incidents where Indians were killed, for example, Vamshi, a Telangana youth, was shot and killed by a carjacker in January 2017. Some have faced bullying at schools and workplaces due to racism mostly in the countryside. However, such incidents were occasional and the community has figured ways to cope with such incidents. So, none of these incidents had shaken the faith in the American dream among Indians and in Indian-Americans as the present tragedy did. Indians back home have become more concerned about their children studying or working in the United States.

All along the White House under Trump administration has been silent, except for once when Sean Spicer responding to a question asked in the press conference said that it was too early to call the Kansas shooting a hate crime. President Donald Trump hasn’t spoken on the issue yet. The FBI has been investigating the case to confirm whether it was a hate crime or not.

The civic society has reacted well to the incident that included both Americans and Indian-American community. Marches were organised at places like Olathe and Houston. Many in the community are asking if these hate crimes have anything to do with Trump’s rhetoric. Have these crimes been motivated by the speeches given by Trump and his colleagues during the elections and thereafter?

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, 867 cases of hateful harassment were counted in the 10 days after the November 8 election. Even in the Obama administration, the hate crime or harassment had been surging. However, critics accuse Trump of fostering xenophobia and Islam phobia in the country.

That said, Indian community has come together to address the issue facing them. They are figuring ways to get support from the US administration and other victim groups, and to keep their American dream intact.

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Kansas Shooting: Do We Belong Here, Asks Srinivas Kuchibhotla’s Wife

Kansas City: Sunayana Dumala, wife of Srinivas Kuchibhotla who was shot dead in firing by a racist, said in view of the series of shooting incidents she always felt that staying on in the US is not a good option. But Srinivas always said only good will happen to good people.

Speaking to media at GPS- Maker Garmin, Sunayana said that she wondered with this tragic incident whether she actually belongs to the US.

‘ I wonder what steps US government will take  to stop shooting incidents on minorities,’ she added.

kansas-shooting-do-we-belong-here-asks-srinivas-kuchibhotlas-wifeMarried four years ago, the couple who were planning for a baby this year faced tragic shooting incident in Austin bar at Kansas where Srinivas died on the spot and his friend Alok Madasani was  injured. Madasani was discharged from hospital on Friday and Indian consulate General of Houston Anupam Ray is monitoring the current situation.

The US Government condemned the attack on Srinivas and assured thorough probe into the incident. This reply was in turn to Indian government which had taken up the issue with the US authorities demanding speedy probe.

Telangana IT Minister KTR condemns attack: Telanagana IT Minister K. Taraka Rama rao condemned the attack on two Telugu techies in Kansas and  urged US government to take necessary steps in controlling attacks on Indians. We lost Vamsi last month, now Srinivas, these incidents make me hurt, my deep condolenses to their families, Minister said.

Vamsi and Srinivas who were shot dead in US belong to Hyderabad, Telangana.

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