There is concern, not panic, says Jayaram Komati

‘The prevailing sentiment in the U.S. is anti-immigrants and not anti-India in particular’

Published - March 01, 2017 07:35 am IST - VIJAYAWADA

VIJAYAWADA, 06/06/2009: Komati Jayaram, president-elect of Telugu Association of North America (TANA), addresses a press conference in Vijayawada on June 06, 2009. Photo: Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar

VIJAYAWADA, 06/06/2009: Komati Jayaram, president-elect of Telugu Association of North America (TANA), addresses a press conference in Vijayawada on June 06, 2009. Photo: Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar

“Telugu-speaking people in the U.S. need not panic” says Jayaram Komati, AP Government’s Special Representative in North America.

Mr. Komati, who was in the city on Tuesday, spoke to The Hindu about conditions in the aftermath of the killing of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, a techie from Hyderabad, in a Kansas bar, reportedly in an alleged hate crime.

“There is no need to panic for Telugus, or for Indians in general. The prevailing sentiment in the U.S. is anti-immigrants and not anti-India in particular,” he said

When pointed out that the U.S. dreams of scores of students from AP are falling apart in the Trump era, he said choice of right educational institution and a slight precaution on the personal front can ensure safety. “I have been in the U.S. for three decades. Much of the fear in the minds of people is stoked by social media. One should not label America as anti-India. President Trump is only keen on implementing stricter immigration rules,” he said, calling the bar firing case ‘very unfortunate’ and a ‘stray incident’.

Strong presence

Mr. Komati, however, admitted that there was ‘concern’ over the proposed new laws of President Trump “but not panic”. “We have more than four million Indians living in the U.S. and a little over a million of them are from the Telugu-speaking states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. What is happening now is nothing now. After 9/11 attack, people from the Middle East felt threatened. I have seen the last eight-nine American elections and we have many Indian accommodated in the White House as well,” he said.

The Kansas bar killing was an ‘individual’ case carried out by a maverick, he insisted, adding: “Nobody has control over such things, neither Trump nor Modi.”

Mr. Komati said there were “a few conservative areas predominantly inhabited by the whites. One must be careful and avoid going to these areas after 8 p.m. But in California or in New York, nobody cares.”

Right choice is key

Mr. Komati doesn’t deny that financial disparity is driving a section of the local American youth to frustration. “They think immigrants are taking away their jobs “but these people constitute only .1 % of the population.”

He said AP students need not alter their U.S. plans. “They should instead focus on choosing a State college or a university, but their requirement would be little higher. That’s precisely why most students find easy ways and opt for institutions without any accreditation. We have more than 15,000 Telugu students in California and recently, accreditation for almost 250 universities was cancelled because these institutions were using central aid but did not maintain adequate standards,” he explained.

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