US leaders raise concern over rise in hate crimes as FBI joins probe

RSTV Bureau
Investigators and police probing an incident of Sikh man shot at in Kent, Washington in another case of hate crime in US.  Photo - AP/PTI

Investigators and police probing an incident of Sikh man shot at in Kent, Washington in another case of hate crime in US.
Photo – AP/PTI

Even as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) joined probe into the shooting of a Sikh man in Kent, in Washington, the past weekend, Indian American Congressman has condemned the incident flagging the alarming rise in the crime motivated by hate.

In an apparent case of racially motivated hate crime, Deep Rai, a US national of Indian-origin, was shot outside his home on Friday by a partially-masked gunman, who shouted “go back to your own country”.

“The Seattle FBI is assisting the Kent Police Department through a joint investigation of the shooting incident,” said FBI Seattle Spokesperson Ayn Dietrich.

The FBI also admitted that it is investigating the incident as a potentially hate-motivated crime.

“The FBI remains committed to investigating crimes that are potentially hate-motivated and we continue to work with all our community partners in the Seattle area,” the FBI spokesperson added.

This is second case which the federal agency is probing as hate crime following the shooting in Kansas last week in which 32-year-old Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla was killed when 51-year-old US Navy veteran Adam Purinton opened fire at him and his friend Alok Madasani, yelling “get out of my country”.

Meanwhile, Indian-American Congressman Ami Bera has condemned the shooting of Rai, saying crimes motivated by hate are on the rise.

“This disturbing crime is an outrage that goes against everything we stand for as a nation of immigrants,” Bera said, adding, “on the heels of the Kansas shooting, crimes motivated by hate are on the rise”.

Undated file photo of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, with his wife Sunayana Dumala in Las Vegas.  Photo provided by Kranti Shalia. Photo - AP/PTI

Undated file photo of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, with his wife Sunayana Dumala in Las Vegas.
Photo provided by Kranti Shalia.
Photo – AP/PTI

The previous incident if Mr Srinivas’s killing has evoked a strong reaction from not just the Indian community in US but also by the authorities, with even White House taking a strong note of the incident.

US President Donald Trump too had condemned the Kansas hate killing.

“Xenophobia and racism have no place in America, and we as a nation need to stand up to these hate crimes – starting with the President (Donald Trump). Thankfully, the victim is recovering and my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family,” said Bera, the three-term Indian American Congressman from California.

Meanwhile, community organisation – the Sikh Coalition – too has praised Kent Police for swiftly moving to investigate the incident as a hate crime.

“We applaud the decision by the Kent Police Department to pursue a hate crime investigation,” said Sikh Coalition interim programme manager, Rajdeep Singh.

The Coalition also urged the Trump administration to take concrete actions to prevent the recurrence of such crimes.

“Immigrants and religious minorities are being attacked around the nation, but the Trump administration has not even created a task force to address this issue…,” Rajdeep said, adding, “The White House needs to show leadership in preventing hate violence.”

(With inputs from the Agencies)