Only weeks after the shooting of two Indian men in Kansas, Deep Rai, a Sikh man, was shot in the driveway of his home in the Seattle area.
Rai, 39, was working on his car around 8 P.M. this past Friday, when a six-foot-tall white man wearing a mask approached him. According to Jasmit Singh, a local Sikh community leader, the white man asked Rai why he was cleaning his car. The two had a brief conversation, before the man pushed Rai to the ground, yelled at him to, “go back to your country,” and shot Rai in the arm. A tenant on Rai’s property corroborated his story. The injury was non-fatal and doctors expect Rai, a U.S. citizen, will make a full recovery, according to Singh.
The police are treating the shooting “as a very serious incident,” Ken Thomas, the police chief of the Kent area, said. The department is investigating the incident as a possible hate crime, alongside Seattle’s FBI office.
This incident has garnered attention nationally and internationally. India’s Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj tweeted, expressing her sympathy for the family. Additionally, Indian’s Foreign Ministry is in touch with and has offered support to the local authorities. The tweet reads: “While we appreciate the efforts of state and local officials to respond to attacks like this, we need our national leaders to make hate crime prevention a top priority.”
Despite the supportive local response to the attack, many are calling on the president to denounce this hate crime and others like it. Rajdeep Singh Jolly, a spokesperson for the Sikh Coalition, a Sikh civil rights group, expressed this in a public statement.
“While we appreciate the efforts of state and local officials to respond to attacks like this, we need our national leaders to make hate crime prevention a top priority,” he said.
Rep. Ami Bera, the longest currently serving Indian-American member of Congress, echoed these statements. “Xenophobia and racism have no place in America, and we as a nation need to stand up to these hate crimes — starting with the President,” Bera said on Sunday.
With the surging of hate crimes towards anyone who is seemingly an immigrant over the last few months, it’s clear that a simple “Stop it” from the president is not enough.