US: Congressman Ami Bera says hate crimes on rise

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Washington, Mar 6: Indian American Congressman Ami Bera has condemned the shooting of an Indian-origin Sikh man in Kent, saying crime motivated by hate are on the rise even as FBI joined probe into the 'potentially hate-motivated crime'.

Ami Bera

"This disturbing crime is an outrage that goes against everything we stand for as a nation of immigrants," Bera said in a statement in which he condemned the shooting of an Indian American Sikh man in Kent, Washington.

"On the heels of the Kansas shooting, crimes motivated by hate are on the rise," Bera said.

Deep Rai, a US national of Indian-origin, was shot outside his home on Friday by a partially-masked gunman who shouted 'go back to your own country', in a suspected hate crime. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating this as potentially hate-motivated.

"The Seattle FBI is assisting the Kent Police Department through a joint investigation of the shooting incident. The FBI remains committed to investigating crimes that are potentially hate-motivated and we continue to work with all our community partners in the Seattle area," said FBI Seattle spokesperson Ayn Dietrich.

The FBI is also investigating another shooting in Kansas last week as a hate crime, in which 32-year-old Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla was killed when 51-year-old US Navy veteran Adam Purinton opened fire at him and his friend Alok Madasani, yelling 'get out of my country'.

"Xenophobia and racism have no place in America, and we as a nation need to stand up to these hate crimes -- starting with the President. Thankfully, the victim is recovering, and my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family," said Bera, the three-term Indian American Congressman from California.

"Thoughts and prayer go out to the Sikh man shot in Kent. I stand with the Sikh community and condemn these acts," said Senator Maria Cantwell. The Sikh Coalition praised Kent Police for swiftly moving to investigate the incident as a hate crime. We applaud the decision by the Kent Police Department to pursue a hate crime investigation," said Sikh Coalition interim program manager, Rajdeep Singh.

"We are all accountable for what happened in Kent," said Seattle-area community leader, Jasmit Singh.

"From the gunman's family and friends who can help bring him to justice, to our elected officials who create public policy at home and in Washington DC, we all must do more to confront this growing epidemic of hate violence," he added.

The coalition also urged the Trump Administration to take concrete actions to prevent the recurrence of such crimes.

"Immigrants and religious minorities are being attacked around the nation, but the Trump administration has not even created a task force to address this issue...," Rajdeep said, adding "The White House needs to show leadership in preventing hate violence."

PTI

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