Probe Sikh shooting as hate crime: Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal urges Donald Trump admin

By: | Published: March 5, 2017 10:13 PM

"People of colour are living under constant fear of violence driven by racism. These attacks against people of colour bear a stark resemblance to those that followed 9/11. Unfortunately, the Trump administration's vilification and 'otherizing' of immigrant communities have real consequences to Americans across this country," she said.

Donald Trump (Reuters)

Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal today urged the Trump administration to probe the shooting of a Sikh man as a hate crime, and to speak out strongly against such incidents. “I urge the Trump administration not only to investigate this shooting as a hate crime, but to take bold steps to fight hate-based violence in our communities. Enough is enough,” Jayapal, 51, the first ever Indian-American woman to be elected to the US House of Representatives, said. The 39-year-old Sikh man was shot outside his home by a partially-masked gunman who shouted “go back to your own country”, in a suspected hate crime that comes just days after the killing of an Indian engineer in Kansas. Japayal, elected to the US House of Representatives from the Seventh Congressional District of Washington state, said the shooting is one of the many hate crime incidents to have devastated the community.

“People of colour are living under constant fear of violence driven by racism. These attacks against people of colour bear a stark resemblance to those that followed 9/11. Unfortunately, the Trump administration’s vilification and ‘otherizing’ of immigrant communities have real consequences to Americans across this country,” she said. The Kent police department has launched an investigation into the incident and reached out to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other law enforcement agencies. Meanwhile, Indian-American Republican leader Puneet Ahluwalia said that it is too early to establish that this was a hate crime.

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“It is very disturbing to hear that a Sikh man was shot but we are yet to verify if it is a hate crime. It is important that we all do not jump to conclusion. We are a country of law and order and have full faith in our police and FBI. We appreciate the concerns but have great faith in our nation’s justice system,” Ahluwalia said. The Sikh man, identified as US national Deep Rai, was working on his vehicle outside his home in Kent, Washington, on Friday when he was approached by a stranger, who walked up to his home’s driveway. Reacting to the incident, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said, “I am sorry to know about the attack on Deep Rai, a US national of Indian-origin. I have spoken to Sardar Harpal Singh, father of the victim.”

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