Washington DC: America is a safe place for students - this is the message the US administration is out to convey as concern about safety is seeping into campuses. Last week, an Indian student from New York's Cornell university, Aalaap Narasipura, was found dead near Fall Creek in New York. Police say they don't suspect murder, but it has led to some unease among Indian students in the US.
- An Indian student Aalaap Narasipura was found dead in New York last week
- In February, engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla was shot dead in Kansas city
- There are concerns in India about Donald Trump's immigration ban
The administration says such incidents are exception and not the norm. "American campuses are safe. This is a top priority for us. There can be exceptions but they are not the norm at all," Fred Boll, in-charge of education issues at the state department told NDTV.
In an effort at damage control, he also underscored what he said was a key message from the administration - that Indian students are welcome in the US.
There have been concerns about the future of Indian students in the US following President Trump's controversial immigration ban.
Many Indian families are now saying they are unsure about sending their children to study in the US. A negative decision could spell opportunity for nations like Canada and Australia at the expense of the US.
Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Congressman of Indian origin from Illinois, said America needs the brightest irrespective of where they come from, and that must not change. "While we protect our homeland, our doors must stay open," he said.
On their part, Indian students must report the smallest sign of trouble or discrimination. "Don't be silent even if it is happening to other groups, which is what we tend to do. Communities should stick together and not remain quiet if it is happening to someone else," he said.
In February, Indian engineer from Hyderabad, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, was shot dead in Kansas by a man yelling "get out of my country". The racial attack led to serious concerns among Indian families and brought the spotlight on hate crimes targeting Indians.
There are 166,000 Indian students in the US. The Congressman held out hope for them all, saying it is only in America that "someone called Raja Krishnamoorthi could make it to the Congress".
"Most of those who voted for me couldn't pronounce my name, but that did not stop them. That is the diversity we need to protect," he added.