New Delhi — Racial discrimination against Indians and the recent killings in the US figured in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, with Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge saying it has started happening after Donald Trump took over as President of the US.
As opposition members across party lines accused the government of inaction and failure in taking care of its diaspora, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh assured the members that the government is taking the issue very seriously and also promised that a statement would be made in Parliament in the coming week.
Kharge, raising the issue, said: “Indians in the US are being killed, threatened, asked to leave the country while our government remains silent.”
“This has started after (Donald) Trump became the President (of the US). The Indian government has failed to ensure the safety of its diaspora,” he said.
The Congress leader said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should speak on the issue.
“Why is the government silent on this issue. Around 1.70 lakh Indian students are there for studies. Lakhs of Indians are there for work purposes. They are being targeted. Their parents in India are worried,” Kharge said.
“Prime Minister reacts on tweets on every issue. But why is he silent on this. He must answer and should share the details of its plan to stop such attacks,” he said.
Expressing his deep concern over the killing of Indians, Biju Janata Dal leader Bhartruhari Mahtab sought to know from the government why Indians are getting killed there.
“The Indian government should force the US government to take action,” he said.
Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) member A.P. Jithender Reddy blamed the “America for Americans” call given by Trump for the rise in such incidents.
Shiromani Akali Dal leader Prem Singh Chandumajra said that such incidents of killings of Indians in the US and other parts of world are not new.
“There have been racial attacks on Indians in US in the past. Government should take it seriously,” he said.
He also alleged that when France banned turbans, they had met then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, but he told them India would not make France an enemy for a turban.
The statement led to a brief protest from the Congress benches, with MPs voicing opposition to the statement.
CPI-M leader Mohammad Salim blamed it on the atmosphere of hatred created during the US elections.
“We should understand, when we create an atmosphere of hate it remains there.”
Salim also called it a failure of diplomacy.
Responding to the issue, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the government has taken the issue very seriously.
“We want to clarify that the government is taking all of this very seriously. It is sad and unfortunate, and we condemn it,” Rajnath Singh said.
“The government will take all steps so that Indian feel safe there,” he added.
Rajnath Singh also said that as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is unwell, a detailed statement will be given in the House next week.
The members were voicing concern over the killing of Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla in Kansas on February 22 in an apparent hate crime, and of another Indian Harnish Patel a week later. A Sikh man, Deep Rai, who was an American citizen, was fired at in a racial attack last week, and is out of danger. US President has condemned the Kansas shooting.