Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Widow of Indian techie immigrant on guilty plea of Kansas, USA killer of her husband: won't bring back husband but sends message that "hate is never acceptable"; "We must understand and love one another"

Last updated on 7th March 2018

Kansas Man Pleads Guilty to Indian Immigrant’s Murder, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/06/us/kansas-indian-immigrant-murder.html, 6th March 2018.

These are the words of Sunayana Dumala, the widow of Srinivas Kuchibhotla who was the Indian techie (software technology professional) immigrant (hailing from Hyderabad, Telangana/Andhra Pradesh) who was killed around a year ago in February 2017: "Today’s guilty verdict will not bring back my Srinu, but it will send a strong message that hate is never acceptable."

Here is a Jan. 2018 Kansas City Star article which is quite uplifting: ‘He is guiding me through.’ Austins shooting victim’s widow devoted to legacy of love, http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article193818094.html.
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Major Update on 7th March 2018

Kansas shooting: US navy veteran pleads guilty in Indian techie murder case, http://indianexpress.com/article/india/kansas-shooting-indian-techie-murder-srinivas-kuchibhotla-us-navy-veteran-pleads-guilty-olathe-pub-hyderabad-5089126/, 7th March 2018.

Ravi: I was not aware that the killer was a US Navy veteran (with an inactive pilot license). The above article also gives a fuller statement of Kuchibhotla's wife Sunayana Dumala :

"Today’s guilty verdict will not bring back my Srinu, but it will send a strong message that hate is never acceptable" .. "We must understand and love one another. Let us continue to work for peace, understanding and love — the things Srinu stood for and will be his legacy."

The article also states that she is organizing a "peace walk" on Friday (9th March 2018) on the campus of Garmin International, Inc., Olathe, Kansas, USA, https://www.garmin.com/en-US/company/facilities, where her husband Kuchibhotla worked as an engineer (software techie). 9th March 2018 is reported to be his birthday.

I (Ravi) pray to God to shower His Grace on the efforts of Sunayana Dumala to spread peace, understanding and love in Olathe, Kansas, USA. I must also say that I am deeply touched and that I admire Sunayana Dumala for responding to hatred with peace, understanding and love. Responding to acts of hatred with acts of hatred in today's early 21st century with its terrifying level of weapons of awesome destruction, is the path to catastrophe and terrible human suffering for all who get caught up in such vicious spirals of hatred and violence.

Yes, the hate inspired killing of the killer was stopped from growing further by the actions of law enforcement of the USA, and the killer will now, in all probability, face a long jail sentence. And that I think is necessary. Hate inspired violence must be met with punishment for the perpetrator and that publicly announced punishment serves as a deterrent to others who may be thinking of doing similar actions. It is USA law enforcement's praise-worthy actions that have ensured this. They have upheld the rule of law in the USA! That is truly one of the great and admirable features of USA today.

Given that the killer is receiving just punishment, now there is no room for hatred from the killed person's family and friends. If the killer had got away with his racist-hate inspired killing of an innocent man then perhaps it would not have been so easy for Sunayana Dumala to not have hatred in her heart towards the killer. The desire for vengeance for unjust suffering imposed on one, is a very natural and a very human impulse in my considered opinion, and is not easy to suppress in situations where the perpetrator roams scot-free.

I don't know whether the killer sincerely repents for his actions and seeks forgiveness from the family and friends of Kuchibhotla. If so, it would be very interesting to know how Sunayana Dumala reacts.

This article dated 25th February 2017 (around the time of Kuchibhotla's killing): Indian engineer killed in US, another injured, gunman told them ‘get out of my country’, http://indianexpress.com/article/world/kansas-shooting-indian-techie-srinivas-kuchibhotla-us-hate-crime-4542147/ gives more details about the killer.

The 51 year old white American killer seems to have thought that Kuchibhotla and his Indian immigrant colleague were "Middle Eastern" people as he said to a bartender after his gun attack that he killed "two Middle Eastern" people (he shot at two but was able to kill only Kuchibhotla; an American (white guy), Ian Grillot, who tried to intervene, was also injured but not killed). The killer also shouted "terrorist" at them and told them to "get out of my country".

The above article states: [The killer] "had a reputation as both a troubled man and a typical helpful neighbour. He could often be seen outside, beer in hand, and would complain about his health and grieve about his father’s death about a year ago, Kansas City Star reported."

I think it is appropriate for me to mention that I am a retired software technologist (techie) who worked in the international software industry for around 18 years from 1984 to 2002 and have lived in USA (close to 2 years totally), in Western Europe (around 1 and a half years totally) and in South Korea (for 2 months) in the years from 1985 to 1992/93. During these stays abroad and while I was at Mumbai while working in the international software industry, I have extensively interacted with white Americans and white Europeans. While there have been some minor issues both ways (from my side and from their side too, I guess) I never faced any seriously nasty racist behaviour, let alone racist violence. But I think some Indian colleagues of mine who worked in London at that time did face some nasty racist behaviour in public places like tube stations and even in the tube itself at late nights. I have visited London but not lived or worked in London or any other place in the UK.

The only significant racist behaviour that I experienced was when I and two Indian colleagues of mine were travelling by ferry from Oostend in Belgium to Dover in UK in 1985/86 and encountered a largish white English football fans group of youngsters who also were travelling by that ferry. At the ferry terminal in Oostend, when they saw us they chanted slogans like 'if they are black send them back" or something on those lines. I don't think I understood their accented English properly and don't have a clear recollection of what they said. We ignored them. That seems to have cooled them down. Later on the ferry, one of their leaders called me 'Gandhi' and asked me to click a snap/few snaps of them using a camera that he handed me. I obliged without responding verbally to his calling me 'Gandhi'. He then said something on the lines of "Hey, You are OK". If I recall correctly, I did not respond verbally to that either. But the tension between the largish white English football fans group of youngsters and our tiny group of 3 brown Indian software engineers/techies disappeared.

I find it tragic to see that some white people in USA and Western Europe like this killer have, now in the 2010s, got caught up in nasty racist hatred and violent behaviour towards brown-skinned Asian people, labeling them all as "Middle Eastern" people. I must also say that I find it very encouraging to see that the institutions and establishment of USA and Western Europe, by and large, have completely rejected such racist hatred and violent behaviour.

Immigration is a hot-button and tense issue. My view is that that should be handled legally. Illegal immigrants in the USA or in Western European countries, or in India for that matter, being deported forcefully is acceptable to me, however humanly harsh and difficult it may be. The fact of life is that it is the sovereign right of a country whether to allow a foreign citizen to stay in or even visit their country. The only Visa rejection that I recall having, was when I was living in Brussels, Belgium in 1985/86 and applied for a visitor's visa to France to attend the wedding of a French lady that we were acquainted with. I would have provided the wedding invitation card and other details, including my work permit in Belgium, but my visitor's visa was rejected by the French embassy in Brussels without giving any reasons for the rejection. It was a disappointment and the French lady was very apologetic about it though the matter was not in her control at all. But I recognized that it was the sovereign right of France whether to grant me a visa or not. If I recall correctly, I later read that there was some tension between India and France at that time over some espionage allegations. Perhaps my visa rejection was related to that freeze in relations between India and France then.

[I thank kansascity.com and indianexpress.com, and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above short extracts from their websites on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

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