White House condemns attacks on Indian students, vows accountability

White House condemns attacks on Indian students, vows accountabilityWhite House condemns attacks on Indian students, vows accountability
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Carl Samson
February 16, 2024
The Biden administration has condemned the recent spate of violent attacks against students of Indian descent in the U.S., calling them “unacceptable” and vowing to hold those responsible behind them into account.
Driving the news: One Indian national has been murdered on U.S. soil so far this year. Vivek Saini, 25, who earned his MBA at the University of North Alabama last year, was allegedly killed with a hammer while working at a convenience store in Lithonia, Georgia, on Jan. 16 by a transient man he had reportedly been helping for several days.
Syed Mazahir Ali, a master’s degree student at Indiana Wesleyan University, recounted being brutally attacked by four armed robbers in Chicago on Feb. 4. A video capturing the incident has since gone viral.
Two more Indian students have died under unknown circumstances: Akul Dhawan, 18, of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, was found dead on campus after a friend reported him missing some time after midnight on Jan. 20. Neel Acharya, 19, of Purdue University, who had also gone missing, was found dead with no trauma to his body on Jan. 29.
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What the White House said: In a press briefing on Thursday, John Kirby, coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council, assured that violence has no place in the U.S. and that the Biden administration is working hard to prevent such attacks and hold culprits accountable.
“There’s no excuse for violence, certainly based on — on race or — or gender or religion or any other factor. That’s just unacceptable here in the United States,” Kirby told reporters. “And the President and this administration has been working very, very hard to make sure we’re doing everything we can to work with state and local authorities to try to thwart and disrupt those kinds of attacks and make it clear to anybody who might consider them that they’ll be held properly accountable.”
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The big picture: The attacks and mysterious deaths add to the recent string of fatalities among Indian students in the U.S. Sameer Kamath, 23, a doctorate student also at Purdue University, died by suicide days after Acharya’s body was found. Shreyas Reddy Benigeri, 19, of the University of Cincinnati, was also found dead with no foul play suspected in the same week.
Investigation into the cases continue. Julian Faulkner, Saini’s alleged killer, was taken into custody without incident.
 
If you or anyone you know is at risk of self-harm, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24-hour support at 1-800-273-8255.
 
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