Srinivas Kuchibhotla’s murder has White House disturbed

No one should feel afraid to follow the religion of their choice freely and openly, says press secretary Sean Spicer

Updated - March 01, 2017 02:42 am IST

Published - February 28, 2017 02:58 pm IST - Washington

White House press secretary Sean Spicer speaks during a daily press briefing in Washington on Monday.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer speaks during a daily press briefing in Washington on Monday.

The murder of Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla is “disturbing,” but President Donald Trump is dedicated to preserving the right to religious freedom for all Americans, the White House said on Monday. “The President is dedicated to preserving this originating principle of our nation,” Press secretary Sean Spicer said.

The safety of Indians in America will feature in Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar’s discussions with several U.S interlocutors he would be meeting in the U.S capital over the next three days.  Mr. Jaishankar will meet several White House and State Department officials, and will explore the options of a possible visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the U.S in the coming months, according to Indian diplomatic sources.

An official of the U.S State Department told  The Hindu  that he expected Mr. Jaishankar to propose news steps in bilateral relations, accounting for Mr. Trump’s priorities.

The official said the visit would be significant in terms of setting the contours of India’s engagement with America under Mr. Trump.  Mr. Trump has not yet appointed deputy and assistant secretaries of State who drive policy. Immigration, H-1B visas and safety of Indians have been pushed to the foreground due to recent developments, but Mr. Jaishankar’s discussions with U.S officials are also expected to cover India’s role in Afghanistan and the extent of India-U.S cooperation in the Pacific, among other issues.

Mr. Spicer made a passing mention of the attack in Kansas that killed Kuchibhotla and injured his friend Alok Madasani while discussing the recurring incidents of vandalism targeting the Jewish community.  “I wanted to note the President continues to be deeply disappointed and concerned by the reports of further vandalism at Jewish community,” Mr. Spicer said, noting that such incidents have been reported from around the country.  

“The President continues to condemn these and any other form of anti-Semitic and hateful acts in the strongest terms.  From our country’s founding, we’ve been dedicated to protecting the freedom of our citizens' rights to worship.  No one in America should feel afraid to follow the religion of their choosing freely and openly.  … And while we’re at it, I don’t want to get ahead of the law enforcement, but I was asked the other day about the story in Kansas -- the shooting in Kansas.  And while the story is evolving, early reports out of Kansas are equally disturbing,” Mr. Spicer said.





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