Srinivas Kuchibhotla (32), an Indian living in the United States was killed in an incident of hate crime in the evening of February 22, 2017, in Kansas City by an American navy veteran, Adam Purinton (52).
Aggrieved at his murder, Srinivas's family has blamed US President Trump for Srinivas's cold-blooded murder. While speaking to the media, Srinivas's brother KP Shastri lamented, "There is a rise in hate crime since Trump became the President." Kuchibhotla is the first casualty of a hate crime since Trump's accession to power. This incident has instilled fear among Indian-Americans, particularly among the 30,000 of them living in Kansas City.
What is shocking is the hatred that has permeated in the American society against the 'outsiders'. The accused, Purinton, while shooting the young engineer shouted, "get out of my country!" The brutal incident is not a lone incident of hate crime. Significantly, a media report, dated June 25, 2015, noted that the number of people killed in attacks by homegrown white supremacists and racists are much higher than the those killed in terrorist attacks.
Such indiscriminate attacks on 'others', who are not white native Americans, suggest the pernicious level of intolerance that has been brewing among the disgruntled white nationalists. This has instilled fears among immigrants from across the world who come to work and live in the US.
The recent attack on Srinivas has a political context. After US President Donald Trump's political rhetoric on immigrants, there has been an alarming rise in such attacks. The anti-immigrant violent forces that earlier operated in the periphery have come to the mainstream, displaying their anger and frustration against the 'outsiders'.
It is here that we need to look into the rationale behind such killings. Why do racist attacks occur in the streets of America? Is it a result of failed domestic policy or just a manifestation human failing?
Psychologists and other experts dealing with cases of hate crimes have been of the view that there exists a kind of paranoia about 'others' among people who suffer from acute fear and insecurity. The very fact that white nationalists fear losing control over their resources to immigrant other has led to further escalation of such attacks.
It turns out to be an individual malaise than something institutional or communitarian. However, the politics of the day in the US, unfortunately, legitimises white nationalism and its violent manifestation. Srinivas is one such victim of this violent manifestation of racism.
Conspicuously, the reason for the spike in such attacks is a mix of both - a malignant individual drive against the 'other' and lack of strong domestic counter-racist policy that not only deters such violent exhibition of racism but also treats it at par with terrorism.
However, amidst the rise in racist attacks in America, the hope lies with the larger population in the country that has time and again emerged on the streets calling for political introspection and a constructive strategy to counter the racist narrative. A tough stand on racism along with introspection will help build an inclusive and durable policy towards people of colour.
It's time to give a serious concern. What do you think? Share your opinion with us in the comment section below.