NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Dozens of people gathered in the Indian city of Hyderabad on Tuesday for the funeral of an engineer shot dead in the United States last week, an attack that has raised fears for the safety of Indians abroad.
A white U.S. Navy veteran has been charged with the murder of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, in a case that U.S. authorities are investigating as a possible hate crime, the official term for crimes motivated by bias or prejudice.
Friends stood around Kuchibhotla’s body which was garlanded with flowers ahead of his last rites, while some relatives wiped away tears, television footage showed.
Kuchibhotla’s body was flown in late on Monday from Kansas where he was shot in a bar while another Indian and an American, who tried to intervene, were wounded.
Married four years ago, Kuchibhotla worked as an aviation engineer in the United States, one of the many Indians who go abroad each year in search of a better education or career prospects.
Kuchibhotla and his wife spent the initial years of their marriage living their American Dream, working, partying and traveling across the United States.
His death has raised concern about safety among members of the Indian-American community. More than 3 million Indians live in the United States, many of whom have taken part in candlelight vigils and marches in Kuchibhotla’s memory.
Alok Madasani, Kuchibhotla’s friend who was wounded in the shooting, sought to play down any implications for the safety of Indians in the United States after the “senseless crime”.
“It was an isolated incident that doesn’t reflect the true spirit of Kansas, MidWest and the United States,” Madasani, who was on crutches, told reporters in Kansas.
(Reporting by Aditya Kalra; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)