HATE CRIMES
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Gun violence in the US

‘People are afraid. There is racism’: Indian students reconsider plans to travel to US after Kansas shooting

A navy veteran said to have been intoxicated was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting of two Indian software engineers in a bar

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 February, 2017, 9:09pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 February, 2017, 10:08pm

Anupam Singh, a master’s student, once dreamed of going to the US for his PhD studies. But last week’s seemingly racially charged shooting of two Indian men in Kansas reaffirmed his growing belief that the US isn’t a friendly place for foreign students.

“I would be scared to study in the US,” he said at a tea stall on the campus of the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi. “Did you read the newspapers yesterday? Two Indians were shot.”

A navy veteran said to have been intoxicated was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting of two Indian software engineers in a bar in Olathe, ­Kansas. The shooter reportedly shouted: “Get out of my country!” One man died and the other was ­injured, as well as a good Samar­itan who tried to intervene.

I would be scared to study in the US. Did you read the newspapers yesterday? Two Indians were shot
Anupam Singh, Indian student

The possible hate crime has prompted anger in India and concern that the US is no longer a safe place for its thriving community of visiting Indian students, scholars and tech workers. The father

of Alok Madasani, the Indian ­injured in the attack, has appealed to “all parents in India” not to send their children to the US under “present circumstances”.

At one of India’s most prestigious science and technology campuses, the effects of the violence were keenly felt. Graduate students said they were changing their postgraduate plans to colleges in Canada or Australia.

International students at US universities topped 1 million last year, according to government figures, with the number of Indians up 14 per cent, to 206, 584.

“I used to think of America as a place where there is greater racial equality than exists in India,” said Dhriti Ahluwalia, 26, a master’s student. “People are afraid. There is inequality. There is racism.”

Concern over the troubled US political climate has reverberated through India college system.

“Everybody is asking me whether they should go or not,” said Kavita Singh, who runs a ­college admissions counselling service in New Delhi.

Many of her students will want to apply to “elite schools on the coasts, in blue states”, she said, but say they don’t want to look at schools “in the middle of the country, the red states, anymore”.