News Analysis |
A man, who killed an Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla in Kansas shooting last year, has been sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. Many saw the murder as an indirect result of Trump’s election campaign that was based on bigotry and divisiveness.
Adam Purinton, a US Navy veteran had fatally shot Kuchibhotla, who hailed from Hyderabad and wounded two others in a racially motivated hate crime at a sports bar in Kansas City in the United States on February 22, 2017. Purinton, who had earlier faced a death sentence before he pleaded guilty to murder in federal court in May, will not be eligible for parole for 50 years.
At his plea hearing in May, Purinton had admitted that he shot Kuchibhotla and his friend Alok Madasani because of their race, color, religion, and national origin, according to a statement by the US Department of Justice. Purinton previously pleaded guilty to state charges for murder and attempted murder and was sentenced to life in state prison.
US border agents told Fox News they arrest roughly five to 10 Indian nationals a day, with most young men claiming asylum as victims of political or religious persecution.
He was charged with first-degree murder of Kuchibhotla and attempted first-degree murder of Madasani, and a Kansas resident Ian Grillot, who chased Purinton after he fled the crime scene. According to CNN, Kuchibhotla and Madasani, both originally from India, worked as engineers at Garmin, a technological company that makes GPS devices. Eyewitnesses said that Purinton purportedly yelled, “Get out of my country,” before fatally shooting Kuchibhotla.
Meanwhile, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has erroneously referred to Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was shot dead in a hate crime at a suburban Kansas City bar last year, as a Sikh. Sessions, America’s top law enforcement official, said this while addressing the Alliance Defending Freedom’s Summit on Religious Liberty on August 8, a day after US Navy veteran Adam Purinton of Olathe was awarded three consecutive life sentences for the crime.
“Yesterday, we obtained a life sentence for a man who murdered an Indian-American man, a Sikh as it turned out, because he thought he was a Muslim,” Sessions said. According to Fox News, Indians are one of the fastest-growing groups of illegal immigrants to the United States, travelling thousands of miles to enter the country from Mexico. In 2015, US authorities caught six immigrants from India trying to cross into the US from Mexico.
“So far, this fiscal year, the figure is already at more than 3,400,” the report said. Many use the tiny town of El Centro, California, to cross into the United States from Mexico. The US-Mexican border is divided into nine sectors and El Centro, a tiny 70-mile stretch, is the smallest.
At his plea hearing in May, Purinton had admitted that he shot Kuchibhotla and his friend Alok Madasani because of their race, color, religion, and national origin, according to a statement by the US Department of Justice.
El Centro Sector Chief Gloria Chavez told Fox News that this 8,000-mile journey starts in a town India an ends in El Centro. Indians generally fly to Qatar then Ecuador, then travel on foot or by bus through the jungles of Colombia and Panama, through Central America and Mexico to El Centro.
Ms Chavez said that while most Central Americans pay $8,000 to human traffickers to cross into the US, an Indian national pays up to $25,000. On the way, they throw away the documents verifying their identity making it difficult for US authorities to identify and deport them.
Once in the US, they seek political asylum, claiming religious and political persecution at home. “Communication is very, very hard,” said Justin Casterhone, who like most border agents in El Centro speaks fluent Spanish, but no Punjabi, the native language of most Indian asylum seekers.
“The Indian nationals usually head to the local Sikh Temple for a meal, change of clothes and a bus ticket. From there they will go live with relatives until an immigration judge can hear their case — typically a year or two later,” Fox News reported.
US border agents told Fox News they arrest roughly five to 10 Indian nationals a day, with most young men claiming asylum as victims of political or religious persecution. Women, who often belong to a lower class in India’s stratified caste system, claim abuse or fear of retribution from families in a higher social class.