The attacks on Indians in the United States were “stray incidents” and did not reflect the outlook of Americans towards Indians, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in Parliament on Wednesday. The Indian government has taken up the issue with the US administration, Swaraj said, adding that a speedy investigation has also been requested.
Speaking for the first time in Parliament since her kidney transplant last year, Swaraj said she had reached out to the family members of the victims while she was recuperating. She said the government will not remain silent even if one Indian is aggrieved anywhere in the world. “To say that we did not take any step or maintained silence is absolutely wrong...This is not in our work culture,” she said in the Lok Sabha.
Swaraj claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would ask the ministry for updates on the US situation every day while he was campaigning for the elections. “I would like to reassure the House and the members that safety and security of India diaspora abroad remains a top priority for this government,” she added.
Swaraj said the US President Donald Trump and his administration had condemned the racial attack on Indians there. She said there was no need for a travel advisory for Indians travelling to the US as such incidents were only sporadic and did not reflect the sentiments of Americans towards Indians.
In recent weeks, there have been four attacks on Indians in the US. Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla was shot dead at a Kansas City bar on February 23 by a Navy veteran, Adam Puriton. Eyewitnesses at Austins Bar and Grill had heard Puriton shout “Get out of my country” before he started shooting at the men, whom he had believed were Arabs.
Another store owner in South California was found dead outside his residence on March 2. On March 3, a gunman shot a Sikh American in Washington, after telling him to “go back” to his own country. On March 12, a Florida man set a store own by a person of Indian origin on fire.