Now Sikh shot in US by masked gunman
A 39-year-old Sikh man in the US has been shot and wounded outside his home by a partially- masked gunman who shouted "go back to your own country", in a suspected hate crime incident that comes just days after an Indian engineer was killed in Kansas.
The Sikh man, identified as US national Deep Rai by Indian officials in New Delhi, was working on his vehicle outside his home in Kent, Washington, on Friday when he was approached by a stranger, who walked up to his driveway. Kent police said an argument broke out between the two men, with Rai saying the suspect made statements to the effect of "go back to your own country". The unidentified man then shot him in the arm. The victim described the shooter as a six-foot-tall white man, wearing a mask covering the lower half of his face. Kent police are looking for the gunman. Kent Police Chief Ken Thomas said while the Sikh man sustained "non life-threatening injuries", they are treating this as a "very serious incident". Rai is able to talk, an Indian government official said.
The official said the government was ready to offer all possible assistance to the wounded man. Authorities are investigating the shooting as a suspected hate crime, according to the Seattle Times. Expressing concern over the incident, a Sikh rights group has asked US authorities to investigate as a hate crime the attack on the 39-year-old Sikh. The Sikh Coalition, along with local community leaders, has asked local, state and federal officials to investigate this shooting as an anti-Sikh hate crime as well as to improve bias prevention laws and organise 'Know Your Rights' forums to build community resilience and reduce the likelihood of future hate crimes.
It said shooting in Kent, that has left Rai injured, follows the larger national pattern of hate violence directed at minority communities across the United States in the wake of the presidential election. "Investigating this as an anti-Sikh hate crime is critical, because without our government agencies recognising hatred for what it is, we can't combat the problem," said Seattle-area Sikh community leader, Jasmit Singh. Meanwhile, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj today said she has spoken to the father of the victim. "I am sorry to know about the attack on Deep Rai, a US national of Indian-origin. I have spoken to Sardar Harpal Singh, the father of the victim," Sushma Swaraj tweeted.
"He told me that his son had a bullet injury on his arm. He is out of danger and is recovering in a private hospital," she said. In the recent spate of attacks on Indians, Harnish Patel of Lancaster in South Carolina was killed on Thursday, and Srinivas Kuchibhotla was murdered on February 22 in Olathe in Kansas city. Another Indian, Alok Madasani, who was injured in the Olathe attack, survived.