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Kansas killing latest in series of tragedies to hit Telugus in US

Hyderabad, Feb 25: The killing of Srinivas Kuchibhotla has come as yet another blow to the Telugu community in the US and has focused attention on a series of tragedies that have struck immigrants from Telanga and Andhra Pradesh in recent times.

Kuchibhotla of Hyderabad was killed and his colleague Alok Madasani from Warangal district in Telanga was injured in a shooting in a bar in Olathe, Kansas.

In what is suspected to be the first incident of its ture after Dold Trump assumed office, a former vy serviceman opened fire as he reportedly yelled “Middle Easterners, get out of my country” in what is seen as a case of mistaken identity. The two engineers were working as aviation programme magers at Garmin, a MNC. Kuchibhotla, 32, is the second man from Telanga to die in a shootout in the US this month.

Software engineer Vamshi Reddy Mamidala was shot dead in Milpitas, California, on February 10, by an offender in the garage of his apartment building. The 27-year-old, who hailed from Warangal district, died when the assailant opened fire while fleeing after robbing a woman. These are not isolated incidents. More than 30 techies and students from the two Telugu states have died since 2008, victims of crime or accidents. Young dreams were cut short by the disasters that hit one of the largest groups among the Indian community in the US. In December last year, Chunduri Sai Tejaswi, a 23-year-old student from Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, was killed after she was hit by a speeding vehicle while crossing the road in Fremont’s Niles District. Earlier, in July, Sankeerth, 25, of Hyderabad was murdered by his roommate, also an Indian, in Austin, Texas. In June 2016, Hyderabad’s mboori Sridatta (25), who was working with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in Arizo, drowned while picnicking with friends at a waterfall. Early last year, Shiva Karan, a 23-year-old student from Hyderabad, committed suicide, reportedly due to depression. He was pursuing a master’s programme in Raleigh of North Caroli State University. In June 2015, Sai Kiran, 23, of Hyderabad was shot dead by a robber in Florida after he refused to part with his mobile phone. Sai Kiran was pursuing his MS from Atlantic University and had left India only a month and a half back. In a similar case in 2014, Elaprolu Jayachandra, 22, was shot dead during a robbery at a convenience store in Pasade, Texas, where he was working. The spate of killings between in 2008 and 2009 was attributed by some to the economic meltdown and massive job losses in the US.

Indian Americans who have spent considerable time in the US point out that among various ethnic communities in the US, the Indians are doing well and among Indians, Telugus have excelled in various fields. More than 600,000 Telugus are estimated to be living in the US. Many youngsters are pursuing advanced degrees and have become successful software professiols, engineers, doctors and business magers. There is also a feeling that the youth are not taking enough precautions for their safety and thus becoming victims of crimes. While bodies like the Telugu Association of North America (TA) have drafted safety guidelines, there have been demands that Indian authorities guide the citizens, especially students, on dos and don’ts. (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita