Edison, NJ: A media conference was organized at TV Asia premises here by Dr. Kavita Gupta and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Host, HealthTime TV, under the auspices of AAPI East Coast on March 11, with the theme, "Spreading the color of love not hate" with Bollywood star Arjun Rampal.
Dr. Kavita Gupta, a second generation NJ physician running for AAPI vice president’s post, said, "The recent upsurge in hate crimes against Indian community is a serious concern to all. Indians living in remote areas are especially scared. Our safety and our kids’ future is at stake and this panel is geared to find out what can be and should be done.”
She also referred to the online petition she has started via Change.org to pass a law in Kansas in the name of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, the Indian techie slain last month. “Kansas Murder was clearly a hate crime but unfortunately there in no hate crime law in Kansas.”
Dr Sanjay Gupta revealed that many experts, corporate sponsors and community leaders declined to take part in this panel discussion, maybe for fear of becoming targets of hate crimes. He was also told by several not to raise this hate crimes issue. He mentioned how his dad who has been going for a morning walk for 15 years was stopped for the first time recently and asked to carry his citizenship identity with him always.
Dr Sanjay Gupta gave an example of how communication among the community will help. His WhatsApp group of leading 250 physicians in US had a posting showing a person in New Jersey holding the sign, "No foreigners allowed". Another physician brought it to the attention of Governor Chris Christie. Result: New Jersey now has a hotline for reporting hate crimes. He suggested lobbying for such hot lines throughout US as hate incidents remain under-reported.
Arjun Rampal got emotional and said the words "Get out of my country" are resonating worldwide. Back home family members and friends of American immigrant families are worried about their safety. He said, Srinivas Kuchibhotla’s work as software engineer was helping this nation and his murder is a loss to America and an insult to humanity. Rampal suggested we need to educate Americans about Indian immigrants’ service as physicians, attorneys, in IT and other professions.”
Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chief of Parikh Worldwide Media, emphasized the role of education in reducing hate crimes and the important role media can play. HR Shah, TV Asia chairman, felt that the community needs to come together and be more pro-active as this initiative of Dr. Kavita and Sanjay Gupta.
Update: 20 March, 2017