The body of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, Indian engineer shot dead in Kansas on Wednesday, is expected to arrive in Hyderabad on Sunday evening. His wife and brother are accompanying the body. Kuchibhotla grew up in Hyderabad, where his parents live. He was killed in an apparent act of racial violence at a restaurant in Kansas City.
A GoFundMe page created to raise money for his family had raised $ 5,90,000 by Sunday. The couple had bought a house recently in Kansas City. Kuchibhotla’s widow Sunayana Dumala, who has been working on an H-4 visa, may not be able return to the U.S immediately as her visa was linked to Kuchibhotla’s H-1B visa. Kuchibotla’s application for a permanent residency or green card has been under process, and Ms. Dumala's lawyers are exploring avenues available for her to return to the U.S, according to Indian community leaders in Kansas.
Meanwhile, the Telugu Association of North America (TANA) has decided to honour Ian Grillot . Mr. Grillot, an American, tried to stop the shooter when he attacked Kuchibhotla and his friend Alok Madasani — who survived the firing. Satish Vemana, president-elect of TANA, told The Hindu that the Telugu community in the U.S. would like to honour the courage and humanity of Mr. Grillot. “In this tragedy, Mr. Grillot is a shining example of humanity. And we are planning to thank him and honour him during our annual convention in May in St. Louis, Missouri,” said Mr. Vemana.
Indian-Americans in Kansas will hold a candle light vigil on Sunday evening in the city in memory of the slain engineer. The community is shocked, but people see it as an isolated incident, according to Bindulatha Cheedella, the coordinator for TANA in Kansas. Talking to The Hindu over the phone, Ms. Cheedella said, “I have been living in this city for 16 years. We have the option of moving to any city in the U.S., but we have chosen Kansas as our home. And this incident is no reason to change that decision.” She and her husband travel frequently to other U.S. cities for business, but consider Kansas the best place for their children — the older one in high school and the younger in middle school.
Ms. Cheedella added, she never felt uncomfortable or threatened in the city all these years, and has not heard of such incidents. Indian-American community’s social life is mostly restricted to themselves, but for the younger lot, going to a restaurant or a bar is part of life, she said.
Kansas Governor and other officials have taken the incident very seriously, and are disturbed by the issue, said Anupam Ray, Consul-General of India in Huston, who has been coordinating the Indian government’s efforts to help the families of the victims. Mr. Ray said he would be meeting the Governor of Kansas, along with the Indian-American community leaders within the next two weeks.