WASHINGTON: Kansas Governor San Brownback has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing "profound regret" at the terrible act of violence against the Indian nationals last month and said that acts of hate and intolerance have no place in his state.
Srinivas Kuchibhotla, a 32-year-old engineer, was killed and Alok Madasani, another Indian was injured in a shooting allegedly by navy veteran Adam Purinton, who yelled "terrorist" and "get out of my country" before opening fire on them in Kansas last month.
A week later, an Indian businessman, Hardish Patel, was shot dead outside his home in South Carolina. This followed an attack on an Indian-American Sikh man who was shot at in Washington.
The apparent hate crimes against Indians and Indian-Americans have sent shock waves among the large Indian community in the US.
"As Governor of the State of Kansas, I would like to express my deep sadness and profound regret at the terrible act of violence committed against Srinu Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani. The people of Kansas share in my shock and horror. Words cannot express the sorrow that we feel for Srinu's wife, Sunayana Dumala, and his family in Hyderabad," Mr Brownback wrote.
Mr Brownback in the letter said Mr Kuchibhotla was described to him as a courageous man who loved his family and respected elders. "We strive to live in Srinu's example of courage and love and respect," he said.
Mr Brownback said that Kansans have been awed by Sunayana's grace and determination. Her indomitable spirit has moved the entire community and they pray for her comfort and peace in this time of grief, he added.
Open arms of friendship are the very hallmarks of being a Kansan, the Governor said, adding Mr Kuchibhotla embodied the essence of what it means to be a Kansan.
"His friends describe him as charming, caring and loving. He brought with him his immense talents and education and passion. His story is similar to the thousands of Indian diaspora who have called Kansas home over generations," he wrote.
Mr Brownback said that he would like to personally welcome Indians to his state. "They have enjoyed tremendous success through their ingenuity, hard work, and determination. Our state has thrived because of their contributions,"
"Before they moved here, Sunayana Dumala said, 'Kansas was (the) instant choice.' We are humbled that this was the case. I would like to personally welcome Indians to Kansas, and assure them that Kansas is a welcoming, hospitable place," he said.
Ms Dumala had earlier said they had stayed in the US despite the apprehensions of their families because her husband was not fearful and refused to abandon "the country he loved".
In her Facebook post, she wrote, "On what basis we decide a person is good or bad, and of course, it's not based on the color of your skin. So what decides that?"
These issues, she wrote, are talked about often, but then people forget it. "But the fight must go on towards eradicating hatred from the minds of people. So what is the government going to do to stop hate crime?" she wrote.
Noting that Sunayana also spoke about being without her family in Kansas, Brownback wrote in the letter that it is their solemn hope that the community in Olathe and all of Kansas may nourish and love her in the difficult months ahead.
"Acts of hate and intolerance have no place in Kansas. Since our founding, Kansas have fought against injustice and senseless hatred. We are recommitted daily to protecting our family, our neighbours, our guests. We find wisdom and peace in the Sanskrit mantra 'Satyameva Jayate'," Mr Brownback said.
The Governor had met the Indian Consul General Dr Anupam Ray in Topeka and expressed his sincere condolences and reiterated his strong commitment to providing a safe and welcoming environment in Kansas. (PTI)