New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday condoled the death of an Indian-origin store owner in South Carolina and said the investigation in the case was in progress.
Swaraj also said that she had spoken with the father of Sikh-American Deep Rai, who was shot outside his home in Kent, Washington, and was recovering in a private hospital.
In a series of tweets on attacks in the US on India-origin persons last week, Swaraj said, “I am pained to hear about the killing of Harnish Patel, a US national of Indian-origin in Lancaster, South Carolina. Our Consul has reached Lancaster and met the family of Harnish Patel.”
She said the investigation in the case was in progress.
Swaraj also offered her condolences to the bereaved family.
Patel, 43, the owner of a convenience store in Lancaster County, South Carolina, was found dead of gunshot wounds in the front yard of his home on Thursday. Police had said in Patel’s killing his Indian ethnicity did not appear to be a factor.
Reacting to the attack on 39-year-old Rai, 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.”
“He told me that his son had a bullet injury on his arm. He is out of danger and is recovering in a private hospital,” Swaraj tweeted.
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.
Kent police said an argument broke out between the two men, with Rai saying the suspect made statements to the effect of “go back to your own country”. The unidentified man then shot him in the arm.
On the attack on Rai, MaryKay L Carlson, Charge d’Affaires, American Embassy here, said she was saddened by the shooting in Washington state.
“Wishes for quick and full recovery. As @POTUS said we condemn ‘hate and evil in all its forms’,” she tweeted.
Both these attacks come close on the heels of the tragic hate crime shooting in Kansas last month in which 32-year-old Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla was killed when 51-year- old US Navy veteran Adam Purinton opened fire at him and his friend Alok Madasani, yelling “get out of my country”.