The killing of Srinivas Kuchibhotla has come as yet another blow to the Telugu community in the US and has focused attention on a series of tragedies that have struck immigrants from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in recent times.
Kuchibhotla of Hyderabad was killed and his colleague Alok Madasani from Warangal district in Telangana was injured in a shooting in a bar in Olathe, Kansas. In what is suspected to be the first incident of its nature after Donald Trump assumed office, a former Navy serviceman opened fire as he reportedly yelled "Middle Easterners, get out of my country" in what is seen as a case of mistaken identity.
The two engineers were working as aviation programme managers at Garmin, a MNC.
Kuchibhotla, 32, is the second man from Telangana to die in a shootout in the US this month.
Software engineer Vamshi Reddy Mamidala was shot dead in Milpitas, California, on February 10, by an offender in the garage of his apartment building.
The 27-year-old, who hailed from Warangal district, died when the assailant opened fire while fleeing after robbing a woman.
These are not isolated incidents. More than 30 techies and students from the two Telugu states have died since 2008, victims of crime or accidents.
Young dreams were cut short by the disasters that hit one of the largest groups among the Indian community in the US.
In December last year, Chunduri Sai Tejaswi, a 23-year-old student from Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, was killed after she was hit by a speeding vehicle while crossing the road in Fremont's Niles District.
Earlier, in July, Sankeerth, 25, of Hyderabad was murdered by his roommate, also an Indian, in Austin, Texas.
In June 2016, Hyderabad's Namboori Sridatta (25), who was working with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in Arizona, drowned while picnicking with friends at a waterfall.
Early last year, Shiva Karan, a 23-year-old student from Hyderabad, committed suicide, reportedly due to depression. He was pursuing a master's programme in Raleigh of North Carolina State University.
In June 2015, Sai Kiran, 23, of Hyderabad was shot dead by a robber in Florida after he refused to part with his mobile phone.
Sai Kiran was pursuing his MS from Atlantic University and had left India only a month and a half back.
In a similar case in 2014, Elaprolu Jayachandra, 22, was shot dead during a robbery at a convenience store in Pasadena, Texas, where he was working.
The spate of killings between in 2008 and 2009 was attributed by some to the economic meltdown and massive job losses in the US.
Indian Americans who have spent considerable time in the US point out that among various ethnic communities in the US, the Indians are doing well and among Indians, Telugus have excelled in various fields.
More than 600,000 Telugus are estimated to be living in the US. Many youngsters are pursuing advanced degrees and have become successful software professionals, engineers, doctors and business managers.
There is also a feeling that the youth are not taking enough precautions for their safety and thus becoming victims of crimes. While bodies like the Telugu Association of North America (TANA) have drafted safety guidelines, there have been demands that Indian authorities guide the citizens, especially students, on dos and don'ts.
Students are more vulnerable to attacks as they take up part-time jobs in areas with high crime rates as they are offered more money than in other areas.
While the US mission in India issued 60,000 student visas in 2015, the US consulate general in Hyderabad issued the largest number.
According to US officials, the Consulate General in Hyderabad issued the fifth largest number of student visas in the world.
(Mohammed Shafeeq can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Indian embassy in US providing all help to family of slain engineer
Washington, Feb 25 (IANS) The Indian embassy in Washington said it is closely monitoring the tragic shooting incident in Kansas and providing all help and assistance to the family of Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was shot dead in an apparent hate crime.
In a statement, embassy spokesman Pratik Mathur said the Indian Consulate in Houston is in close contact with the family of Kuchibhotla. "In their hour of grief, we are providing all help and assistance to the bereaved family. Arrangements are being made to transport his mortal remains to India."
He said that government officials had also met with the injured Indian -- Alok Madasani -- and are ensuring his well-being.
The Indian government has taken up the matter with the US authorities to express its deep concern and has asked for a speedy investigation.
The US Government while condemning the attack, has assured us that they are conducting a thorough investigation into the matter, the statement said.
Kuchibhotla, 32, was killed and Madasani was injured when Adam W. Purinton, a white who earlier served in the US Navy, shot them at the Austins Bar & Grill in Olathe, Kansas state, on Wednesday night.
Purinton reportedly got into an argument with the victims and hurled racial slurs. He yelled "get out of my country", "terrorist" before shooting them.
In a statement, US Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, who represents Illinois' 8th Congressional District, said the shooting incident appeared to be "an act of hatred".
"We must address the tide of hate in our nation to prevent more of the attacks we have witnessed, including yesterday's shooting in Kansas," he said.
US Senator from Kansas and a member of the Republican Party Jerry Moran said he strongly condemns violence of any kind, "especially if it is motivated by prejudice and xenophobia". Moran termed the shooting of Kuchibhotla a "senseless and terrible loss".
Satya Nadella condemns Indian engineer's killing in Kansas
New York, Feb 25 (IANS) Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Saturday condemned the incident where an Indian engineer was killed and another injured by an American who mistook them for "Middle Easterners" and yelled "Get out of my country" before shooting them at a bar.
"There's no place for senseless violence and bigotry in our society. My heart is with the victims and families of the horrific shooting in Kansas," the Indian-born CEO tweeted.
A 51-year-old US Navy veteran opened fire, killing Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, and injuring Alok Madasani, also 32, and an American in a bar in Olathe, Kansas, on Wednesday night.
The attacker identified as Adam Purinton mistook the Indians for "Middle Easterners" and reportedly yelled "get out of my country".
Ian Grillot, 24, was injured when he tried to intervene to save the Indians.
Kuchibhotla hailed from Hyderabad while Madasani hails from Warangal town in Telangana. They were working as aviation programme managers at Garmin, an electronics manufacturer.
The family of Kuchibhotla was shocked over the incident and has sought help from the state and central governments in bringing his body back home.
Trump times: Good cop, bad cop, just no stop! (Washington Diary)
By Arun Kumar
Washington, Feb 25 (IANS) The allies are upset. Bad hombres are scared. Millions of illegal immigrants, over 300,000 desis among them, have slipped into the shadows. And 'fake media' is hopping mad. But there is no stopping the trundling Trump train.
"Now you finally have a President. Finally!" Donald Trump told a raucous crowd of supporters at an annual gathering of conservatives as he ticked off a dizzying list of actions he has taken with his executive pen in the five weeks he has been in office.
He has pulled the US out of a major trade deal, rebooted two major oil pipelines, ordered reduction in regulations and initiated a huge "military operation" to get "really bad dudes out of this country at a rate nobody has ever seen before."
Now he promised a "brand new action" to ban travel from seven terror prone nations to replace the one derailed by the courts and vowed one of the greatest military build ups in American history" and to "totally obliterate" the Islamic State.
Trump also could not resist the temptation of taking a dig at his Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton for calling his supporters "irredeemable deplorables" amid familiar chants of "Lock her up" and railing against the "dishonest" and "fake news" media.
Even as he vowed afresh to repeal and replace "the disaster known as Obamacare," as he called former President Barack Obama's signature health care law, Republican lawmakers faced tough questions at town halls about this that and all things Trump.
But Trump dismissed "the so-called angry crowds in home districts of some Republicans" as "actually, in numerous cases, planned out by liberal activists. Sad!"
His top cabinet picks, however, were singing a slightly different tune abroad.
If days after taking over as President, Trump had again lamented not taking the Iraqi oil as "spoils of war," his Defence Secretary James Mattis assured worried Iraqis, "We're not in Iraq to seize anybody's oil."
And if the President had called NATO "obsolete," his vice President Mike Pence assured nervous European allies that Washington "strongly supports NATO and will be unwavering in its commitment to our trans-Atlantic alliance."
And his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly hopped over to Mexico to assure "there will be no use of military forces in immigration. And there will be no mass deportation."
As Mexico baulked at reported US plans to deport even OTMs - Other than Mexicans - to Mexico instead of their home countries as previously, they also sought to soothe concerns over Trump's plan to build a wall on the border and make Mexico pay for it.
Is the Trump team playing the "good cop, bad cop" routine as a "maniacally focused" President hits "his agenda every single day" as his reclusive strategic advisor Stephen Bannon asserted in a rare public appearance?
Calling the press as the "opposition party," Steve Bannon, the controversial "brain" behind the President declared an unending battle with "corporatist media and other globalist forces to deconstruct the administration state" -- a system of taxes, regulations and trade pacts.
And escalating his war with what Trump again called "fake news" media and "the enemy of the people", the White House barred several news outlets, including "Clinton News Network" and the "failing New York Times" from an off-camera press briefing.
The move came as CNN reported that the FBI had rejected a White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign.
"The FBI is totally unable to stop the national security 'leakers' that have permeated our government for a long time. They can't even... find the leakers within the FBI itself," Trump fumed in a tweet.
Meanwhile, as Trump detractors chanting "Dump Trump" marked the "Presidents Day" as "Not My Presidents Day" across the country, his die-hard supporters voiced frustration that critics unable to digest his success were too quick to protest.
The Office of Special Counsel, an obscure federal watchdog, too has been flooded with inquiries from bureaucrats about what they can and can't do in office.
And some others are taking their politics from the streets to the couch as a 'Post-election stress disorder' sweeps the nation, CNN reported citing mental health professionals "especially those working in Democratic strongholds."
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)