Racial crime in the west has become a reason for anxiety among the Indian students, after a navy veteran was charged with murder for shooting two Indian software engineers at a crowded bar in Olathe, Kansas. The crime triggered anger and concern that the Trump-era US is no longer secure for the Indian masses. The assailant, Adam Purinton is accused of killing Srinivas Kuchibhotla, and wounding Alok Madasani, both who were admitted to work for a global tech company on H-1B visas after completing graduate studies in the United States.
Anupam Singh, a master’s student at the Indian Institute of Technology in India stated that, “I would be scared to study in the US after watching the news about hate crimes”, reaffirming that US isn’t a hospitable place for foreign students. Dhriti Ahluwalia, also a master’s student, used to believe that there was greater racial equality in the US compared to India, but now there is racism and people are afraid. Graduate students said they were changing their postgraduate plans from the United States to universities in Canada or Australia. This situation emerges as a sad change, especially since the number of international students at U.S. universities topped 1 million last year, according to the Institute of International Education, with the number of Indians up 14 percent.
Tension over the U.S. political climate bagan with the rhetoric-charged presidential campaign, and the under-current is being in India as well. Many students want to apply to elite schools on the coasts, but they don’t want to look at schools in the middle of the country, in the red states. A study by two international-student recruiting companies before the election found that 60 percent of 40,000 students surveyed in 118 countries would be less inclined to come to the United States if Trump won, compared with 3.8 percent who would be less inclined if Hillary Clinton won. Indians are also uneasy about possible future limitations on both student permissions as well as H-1B visas, the foreign visas for highly skilled workers.
Meanwhile, Srinivas’ wife, Sunayana Dumala wonders what the US government will do to stop hate crimes and the father of Alok Madasani, the Indian injured in the attack, appealed from the Indian city of Hyderabad to “all parents in India” not to send their children to the United States under present circumstances.