The Hampden Township Police Department in Pennsylvania held a meeting earlier in April after Asian Indians in the community expressed concern about recent hate crimes happening around the country.
“First there was a shooting in Kansas City, then there was another shooting in South Carolina,” Deep Gupta, chairman of the Asian Indian Americans of Central Pennsylvania, told ABC27 News. “The third one in Seattle.”
Gupta believes that the Indian American victims involved in the shooting in February and March “were mistaken as terrorists, that they could be”, which makes him and his community worried.
“Suddenly, when you see all this news all over the country, that’s what the concern was,” he added. “Can that happen here also?”
Gupta has since reached out to Hampden Township police which recently held a meeting at the local Taj Palace with the community and elected officials in attendance.
“We let them know the police department is on their side,” Det. Richard Nulty with the Hampden Township Police Department told the ABC affiliate. “At this point, we haven’t had any complaints in reference to any sort of racial or ethnic intimidation, at least not in this community.”
Asians make up 7% of Hampden Township, where Nulty said he created a program in 2016 to offer support to all minorities.
“When time permits, we go around to the businesses in the communities and let them know who we are,” Nulty said. “That way they can contact me if they’re experiencing anything like the Indian community is concerned about.”
Gupta added that he doesn’t “think about anything else except doing good for this country.”
Other Indian Americans around the country believe President Donald Trump could do more to make sure Indians and South Asians feel safer.
Suhag Shukla, the Indian-American co-founder of the Hindu American Foundation, explained how she had been “deeply and profoundly saddened” by Srinivas Kuchibhotla’s shooting death at a bar in Olathe, Kansas.
“While I appreciate [the president’s] condemnation of the incident, my personal opinion is that a stronger and swifter message would have been appreciated,” Shukla told HuffPost.
Last month, the White House denied any connection between the attacks and Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, but some people, like Raj Singh Ajmani, of Kent, Washington, believe that there is a link.
“When it happens in your own community, you realize the danger and the times we’re living in,” Ajmani said, according to Vox. “Some people worry that more such violence will occur because of President Trump.”