Local Indians Condemn Kansas "Hate Crime" Murder

Local Indian Community Concerned after Kansas Killing of Two Indian Men
Posted at 5:15 PM, Feb 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-01 03:56:49-05

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- Members of Tallahassee's Indian community are speaking out after a man in Kansas shot two Indian men last week, killing one of them.

Tuesday, the FBI announced it is now investigating the incident as a "hate crime."

The shooting happened Wednesday, February 22 at a bar in the city of Olathe. Witnesses told investigators that Adam Purinton told the two Indian men to "Get out of [his] country," before he shot them and another man.

Srinivas Kuchibotla was killed. Alok Madasani and Ian Grillot were injured.

Though tragedy struck about a thousand miles away, it still hits close to home.

"In shock and disbelief -- and, in fact, in denial -- that this couldn't happen to us," said Ashvini Chauhan, a FAMU professor and scientist.

"This is a wakening call for everybody," said Santosh Pradhan, a business owner. "So, we should not keep quiet."

The murder of Srinivas Kuchibotla has brought out growing concerns for safety.

"It's unfortunately nothing new," said attorney Shehnoor Grewal. "Brown people have been attacked, whether they're Latino, whether they're Iranian, whether they're Indian."

"Nobody has a right to kill absolutely anybody or take any life," said business owner Rosemeen Prahan, "but how can we assume that we are safe unless this government speaks up?"

The group says Indians in America have faced discrimination for years, despite many being born here.

"Not only us, but our future generations are at stake, because they have the same skin color as we do," Chauhan said. "And if they're targeted -- they're as American as any other person down the block."

"Indians are not only your engineers, your lawyers," Grewal said. "We have journalists, we have artists."

"There is no reason that you can kill someone because whether he's an immigrant or no immigrant," said Ashish Pathak, a FAMU professor and scientist.

The group says the nation's leaders should publicly condemn this incident.

"Good people who are not basically doing anything wrong should not be targeted," Santosh Pradhan said.

"Essentially, we come in peace," said Grewal. "This is a group of people who care about this country, just as much as any non-white person out there."

The local Indian community said it's incredibly thankful for Grillot, who was seriously hurt trying to stop the shooter. Members are considering some form of public demonstration to promote peace and tolerance.