The White House on Tuesday said that reports about the Kansas shooting, in which Indian techie Srinivas Kuchibhotla was killed and his friend Alok Madasani was injured, were “disturbing”. President Donald Trump’s Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that violence on the basis of religion and ethnicity should stop. “No one in America should feel afraid to follow the religion of their choosing freely and openly. The President has dedicated to preserving this originating principle of our nation... While the [Kansas] story is evolving, early reports are equally disturbing,” said Spicer (picture above).

Earlier, Spicer had said it was “absurd” to link the crime to Trump’s stand on immigrant.

President Donald Trump, who is known for his being extremely active on social media, has not commented on the shooting yet. Earlier, Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders had criticised Trump for not speaking up. “With threats and hate crimes on rise, we shouldn’t have to tell Potus to do his part. He must step up and speak out,” said Clinton. Sanders went a step ahead and said that Trump speaks only when “it fits his agenda of fear mongering”.

The statement from the White House comes as Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar is scheduled to visit the US. He will be in the country for four days to discuss the H-1B visas concerns and increasing reports of violence against Indians in America, reported NDTV.

Kuchibhotla’s death has raised fears among his family and other immigrants living in the United States. His wife Sunayana Dumala had earlier said she had expressed fears about a spate in violence in the US but that her husband had always reassured her.

Thirty-two-year-old Kuchibhotla, his friend Alok Madasani and another American friend Ian Grillot were shot at by Adam Puriton, a Navy veteran, at a crowded pub in Olathe, Kansas City on February 23. Later, Kuchibhotla succumbed to his injuries at a hospital. Eyewitnesses at the Austins Bar and Grill had heard Adam Puriton shout “Get out of my country” before he started shooting at the men, whom he had believed were Arabs.

Puriton, who is a former pilot, and an air traffic controller, was charged with one count of premeditated first degree murder and two counts of attempted premeditated first degree murder. He was held on a $2-million bond in Henry County Jail.

Meanwhile, Kuchibhotla’s last rites will be performed at Hyderabad’s Jubilee Hills on Tuesday, IANS reported. His body was brought back to India in a cargo flight on Monday night.