Two Indian students murdered in US, diplomats rush to enquire

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Washington, Dec 15 (UNI) Two Indian students of the Louisiana State University were shot dead by unidentified assailants on the campus even as two Indian diplomats have rushed to the state to enquire into the incident and render assistance to the affected families.

Chandrasekhar Reddy Komma (31) and Kiran Kumar Allam (33), both Ph D students of the Louisiana State University (LSU), hailed from Kurnool and Karim Nagar districts in Andhra Pradesh respectively.

They were found dead on Thursday night in an apartment on the University campus.

Consul K P Pillai from the Consulate General of Houston and First Secretary Alok Pandey from the Indian Embassy in Washington have gone to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to inquire into the alleged murder of two Indian students.

The diplomats will contact the University authorities, the Police Department and the Indian-American community to render all possible assistance.

''As soon as we were made aware of this heinous crime which occurred on the morning of December 14, the Consulate General of India, Houston, established contact with the Louisiana State University (LSU) to ascertain more details,'' an embassy press release said.

Indian Ambassador to the US Ronen Sen conveyed his deepest condolences to the family of the victims and hoped that the culprits would be caught and due justice meted out to them.

According to the reports, the students, hailing from Andhra Pradesh, were shot dead in their apartment in the University. The police is looking for the assailants, though no suspect has been identified.

The local police suspected that three people had entered Kiran Allam's apartment and had shot the two friends.

According to a university press release, a task force comprising the LSU Police Department, the Baton Rouge Police Department, Louisiana State Police and the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office had been assembled to investigate the murders of the students.

''We are attempting to identify and locate the three young black males who were seen hurriedly leaving the vicinity of the apartment where the murders occurred. The men got into a car, possibly occupied by a fourth person (driver),'' the release said.

''The car was seen leaving the complex with its headlights turned off and headed south to Governor Claiborne before turning its lights on and then turned towards west,'' the release added.

Yesterday, LSU Chancellor Sean O'Keefe addressed members of the media to discuss new information on the double homicide at the Edward Gay Apartments on campus.

The victims, Allam, lived at the Edward Gay apartments, and Komma, was on a visit to Allam's appartment were attending school on student visas. Both men were married.

Allam, born in 1974, was from Hyderabad, and was studying chemistry while Komma, born in 1976, was from Kurnool, and was studying biology.

At the request of the victims' families, LSU has decided not to release photos of the two students.

The LSU Indian Student Association last night held a memorial service for Komma and Allam. The public was invited to attend.

The LSU Foundation has established the Komma and Allam Support Fund to assist the students' families.

No new details of the investigation have been released at this time.

In addition, there was a heightened security presence on campus, with law enforcement officials being more visible than usual at the Edward Gay Apartments and other housing units on the Northwest portion of the campus, the release added.

Trained social workers and counselors from the LSU Mental Health Service are available for family and friends of the victims and for any members of the LSU community.

During the fall 2007 semester, LSU had a total of 1,468 international students enrolled at LSU, 332 of whom were from India.

They represent the largest group of international students from a single country at LSU . The LSU's total student enrollment for the fall semester was 28,019.

The Edward Gay apartments have a total of 288 residents, 94 per cent of whom are international students.

UNI

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