‘Everyone loved his lively nature’, relatives and neighbours react to Srinivas’ death

February 24, 2017 06:01 pm | Updated February 25, 2017 12:37 pm IST - Sangareddy/ Hyderabad

Srinivas Kuchibhotla. (Photo taken from a gofundme page set up to help his family with expenses.)

Srinivas Kuchibhotla. (Photo taken from a gofundme page set up to help his family with expenses.)

A pall of gloom descended on the Praneet Nature Bounty at Medchal on the outskirts of Hyderabad on Friday as the news of the killing of Srinivas Kuchibhotla reached the locality. As the news spread, relatives and locals began to make a beeline to the two-storied house of Kuchibhotla Madhusudhana Rao, father of Srinivas.

“A brilliant career has been felled by bullets. Such tragedy should not befall on any parents,” Krishnamohan Sharma, a close relative of Srinivas Kuchibhotla said after his untimely death in Kansas City in US late on Wednesday night.

“God has snatched away the life of Srinivas. He was not only brilliant in studies but also made it big in his career in a very short span of time,” Mr. Sharma said recalling his association with the Kuchibhotla family.

“It was late on Thursday night that the parents and Parshuram Sastry, the victims elder brother received a telephone call first from the US informing them about the injury to Srinivas. But after some time officials from Garmin, where he worked called to break the unfortunate news,” he said.

The parents have been inconsolable ever since they received the phone call. “Srinivas used to talk to his parents on a daily basis. His lively nature is what every one loved,” Mr. Sharma said. Relatives of Srinivas stopped mediapersons from talking to the parents, after a few television journalists demanded that the family members give them sound bytes.

Union Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj tweeted about the tragedy and personally spoke to father and brother of Srinivas and conveyed her condolences. “She said the Indian Consulate officials were in touch with the US authorities to help the family in getting back the mortal remains,” Mr. Sharma quoted Kuchibhotla family as telling him.

Mr. Madhusudhan Rao hails from Machlipatnam in Krishna district but came to Hyderabad 40 years ago to work in a now defunct Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Limited as a chemist. Initially, they used to stay in Malkajgiri and later shifted to the present house five years ago. Mr. Madhusudhan Rao and Vardhini have three children – Parshuram Sastry, Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Sai Kishore Kuchibhotla. Kishore Kuchibhotla also stays in US and rushed to Kansas City along with his aunts staying in New Jersey to be with Sunayana, wife of Srinivas.

Relatives of Srinivas said efforts are on to bring back the body in the next few days. Central Government has assured us of all help in this regard, they said.

Kin of injured react

“Thank God, my son survived the firing. But I feel sorry for Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was close to my son,” Jaganmohan Reddy, father of Alok Madasani and Chief Engineer in the Rural Water Supply Department of the Government of Telangana, told The Hindu on Friday.

Narrating his conversation with his injured son, Mr. Reddy said: “My son and Srinivas, along with their American friend, Ian Grillot, were at the bar. The heavily drunk would-be assailant started yelling, ‘get out of my country’. Mr. Grillot alerted the bar owner, who sent him away. But he returned with a gun.”

The American shot dead Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was sitting alone.

“Alok was holding a plate to have his dinner, saw the shooting and tried to escape. Three rounds were fired at him but two whizzed past him and the third one hit a wall and pierced his thigh,” Mr. Reddy said, quoting his elder son Madasani Surender Reddy, who works in Dallas.

Mr. Grillot then tried to stop the assailant from creating mayhem. In the process, he also sustained injuries, Mr. Reddy said.

Mr. Alok and Mr. Grillot tried to tell the assailant that the two Indians were legal immigrants and had permission to work in the U.S.

Mr. Reddy, who resides in Telephone Colony of Kothapet in Hyderabad, said his son had obtained his passport in Warangal and hence it was initially believed that they hailed from that city.

Rushing to U.S.

“The information from my elder son and conversation with Alok says that he is safe. We are shocked by the incident and so are they in the U.S.,” Mr. Reddy said, adding that he was trying to go to the U.S.

Mr. Reddy said Srinivas’s father-in-law Balakrishna stayed in Snehapuri Colony close to Kothapet. “I will visit him and express my condolences,” he added.

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