Memorial service for slain Indian students

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Washington, Dec 15 (UNI) More than 300 people attended a memorial service held in Baton Rouge for the slain doctoral students, Chandrasekhar Reddy Komma and Kiran Kumar Allam of the Louisiana State University (LSU).

The mourners filled 16 rows of chairs and the back wall of the ballroom at LSU's Student Union where the service was held yesterday, said a report in the Advocate.

The Daily carried detailed reports on the memorial service, quoting their friend and teachers.

Assistant Professor Fareed Aboul-ela of the Biology Department who taught both the victims, said ''they were delightful people, very lively.'' Dheeraj Singireddy, who attended the ceremony, described Allam as a close friend whom he had met when he was in the Indian Student Association.

''Allam was very helpful to other Indian students, including the newcomers from India at LSU,'' he said, adding that he moved to Baton Rouge from India to pursue a Master's Degree in electrical engineering.

Gopu Vikram was among a group of Allam's friends gathered with Allam's wife and mother at a student housing complex on Nicholson Drive.

Allam's pregnant wife, whom Vikram declined to name, was in a state of shock, he said.

He added that Allam's mother flew to Baton Rouge this morning.

Matthew Gilbert, who had coffee with Komma once or twice a week, said Komma and his wife had just got married.

''He was a wonderful person with a lot of friends,'' he said.

''He was unique in the Indian community in that he really reached out to Americans'' Professor of Basic Sciences Terry Bricker, who worked with Komma in his laboratory two years ago, said Komma recently passed his general exam to become a doctoral candidate.

''That was a milestone for him, which kind of makes this even more difficult to take,'' Prof Bricker said.

Assistant Professor of English at LSU, Pallavi Rastogi said she felt shell-shocked all day.

''I think it really hit us close in two ways: one, that it was at LSU, where we work; and the second, that it happened to someone from India, someone who followed the kind of trajectory that we had,''she said.

''People come here thinking that they'll have a better life, better career opportunities, and then it's all cut short in a brutal fashion,''said Prof Rastogi.


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