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24-year-old Ian Grillot Honored as “A True American Hero” by Houston’s Indian American Community

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Ian Grillot receiving pleasantries from Kansas ' Governor Sam Brownback, Facebook

Houston, Mar 31, 2017: The 24-year-old, young American Ian Grillot, was injured, when he took a bullet, trying to grab the 51-year-old navy veteran Adam Purinton – who shot at two Indians last month at a bar-cum-grill in Olathe, Kansas, has been honoured as “A True American Hero” by Houston’s Indian American community which raised $100,000 to help him buy a house in his hometown Kansas.

India’s ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna handed over the cheque to Grillot, who was honoured at the 14th annual gala of India House Houston here.

A statement posted on India House Houston Facebook page said, “On behalf of the Indian-American community in Houston, India House recognised this selfless act beyond the call of duty and has extended the community’s gratitude to Ian Grillot by helping him to buy a house”.

India House, a community center built by the Indian-American community in the Greater Houston area, has succeeded in raising the $100,000 as part of an initiative supported by India’s consul-general in Houston-Anupam Ray, to help Grillot buy a house in his hometown, mentioned PTI.

Grillot had said, “I don’t know if I could’ve lived with myself if I wouldn’t have stopped or attempted to stop the shooter because that would’ve been completely devastating”

“I do now have a very powerful message and if I can help empower people and spread hope and love, then why not? I am honored to be at India House that serves so many families from so many communities in the Houston area.”

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Sarna said it was a “great privilege” to meet Grillot and his parents. He had said “I was keen to come here today because I was told that Ian Grillot will be honoured…. He is a young man who has shown exceptional courage, strength of very fundamental human values. No amount of honour that India or the Indian Americans bestow on him will be re-compensed enough for that moment of exceptional fortitude and character”.

The vibrant Indian diaspora in America has always contributed towards the society and economy of the US, Ray had said. “They are the ambassadors of Indian culture. They are playing a vital role in strengthening the ties between the two nations and cultures.”

– Prepared by Upama Bhattacharya. Twitter @Upama_myself

 

 

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Patient Suspected to Kill Indian Doctor in the US

A second case of the killing of an Indian doctor in Kansas has shocked the masses

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In addition to providing psychiatric care, Dr Achutha Reddy also treated chronic physical pain and expounded a system he called "Absolute Yoga". (IANS)

Kansas, September 15, 2017 : An Indian doctor was stabbed to death in Kansas state of the US. One of his patients has been arrested as a suspect in the stabbing death, according to police.

Achutha Reddy’s death in Witchita on Wednesday is the second killing this year of an Indian in Kansas where Srinivas Kuchibhotla was shot dead in February. Both hailed form Telengana.

The 21-year-old man, who was arrested as a suspect in Reddy’s killing, was identified as Umar Rashid Dutt in jail booking records, according to TV station KAKE.

The attack on Reddy, 57, began in his clinic and ended in a nearby lane as the fleeing doctor was chased down by the assailant, the police said.

Reddy, who introduced yoga in his treatment, was mourned by fellow doctors and the community, who held him in esteem.

Police Lieutenant Todd Ojile said on Thursday in a media briefing video posted on the Wichita Police website that the office manager of Reddy’s Holistic Psychiatric Services heard a disturbance in the doctor’s office on Wednesday evening around 7 p.m. and saw the assault taking place when he went in.

The manager tried to stop the attack allowing Reddy to flee, but he was chased by the assailant and killed in a second assault in an alley behind the clinic, Ojile said.

He said that Reddy had several stab wounds and was pronounced dead by the emergency medical team that responded.

The suspect was arrested near a country club a short time later, when a security guard alerted police to a man covered with blood in a car, Ojile said.

He was still in custody on Thursday morning and Ojile said the case was likely to be given to the district prosecutor’s office on Friday afternoon.

Pending the filing of formal charges, police did not give out the arrested man’s name, which was found by the media in jail records.

According to TV station KAKE, a Wichita State University spokesman said Dutt was a former student and was last enrolled in the spring of 2015.

The Wichita Eagle newspaper said that Reddy, who graduated from Hyderabad’s Osmania Medical College in 1986, did an internship at St. Louis University in 1994 and a residency at the Kansas University School of Medicine-Wichita in 1998.

He practiced in Wichita for more than two decades and opened his own practice in 2003, the newspaper said.

In YouTube videos Reddy said that in addition to providing psychiatric care he also treated chronic physical pain and expounded a system he called “Absolute Yoga”.

He said that he had suffered chronic back pain for 10 years and that led led him to conduct research and develop the system which emphasised having the “right mindset”.

Fellow doctors and members of the community said his death was a loss to society.

The Wichita Eagle newspaper quoted Denis Knight, president of the Medical Society of Sedgwick County, as saying: “The Medical Society is heartbroken over the loss of Reddy.”

Achutha Reddy’s wife, Beena Reddy, is also a doctor and Denis said: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to her. Reddy’s death is a tragic loss to our community.”

The newspaper quoted Brenda Trammel, a psychotherapist at his clinic, as saying: “Reddy was an amazing, compassionate man who was kind and loving to anyone he met. He had a gift of knowing what each and everyone of us needed and gave it freely.”

April Marie Schlenker from Kansas State University said in a post on TV station KAKE’s site: “Reddy was so unique to any one else I have ever met in the therapy/psychiatric world. He connected almost instantly with people. His eyes held wisdom and secrets and joy.”

A former patient, Maria William, wrote, “He was always a good and caring doctor for his patients. Reddy you will be greatly missed by many people. Fly high with the angels.”

While some posters demanded hanging the killer or taking strong measures, a medical professional, Pedro Murati, said: “In these sad times we must remember what Achutha would have wanted after such a horror.”

Projecting “anger towards the mentally ill would be the last thing on his mind”, he added.

In February, Kuchibotla’s killing in Olathe by a white man shouting: “Get out of my country”, has been denounced as a white racist hate crime, but Reddy’s does not fit that description.

Kuchibotla’s killer, Adam Purinton, 51, has been charged with first-degree murder and with attempted murder in shooting and injuring Alok Madasan (IANS)

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UNICEF Calls for Action : 16 Million Children Continue to Suffer as Floods in South Asia Claim More than 1,300 Lives

According to data released by UNICEF, the unusually heavy monsoon over the last several weeks has claimed more than 1,300 lives across India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

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India army soldiers carry children rescued from flood affected villages near Thara in Banaskantha district, Gujarat, India (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki) (VOA)
  • Floods in India, Nepal and Bangladesh have claimed more than 1,300 lives in the last two months
  • According to UNICEF, over 16 million children in the three countries are in urgent need of life-saving support
  • Persistent rainfall has damaged school infrastructure, apart from depriving children of safe places to stay at, and necessities like drinking water and food

New Delhi, September 4, 2017 : Hurricane Harvey created havoc in Houston in August, claiming 15 lives and displacing tens of thousands of people. The event was largely covered by national and international media alike, keeping people abreast with the latest updates. However, the floods in South Asia, which are equally devastating, are yet to receive due coverage from international media. According to data released by UNICEF, the unusually heavy monsoon over the last several weeks has claimed more than 1,300 lives across India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

In its entirety, over 45 million people have suffered the direct impact of the rains and its resulting floods.

Floods in South Asia

For over two months, incessant rains have submerged numerous villages thereby forcing vast numbers of people into evacuation centers and relief camps.

According to a UN Agency report, over 16 million children residing in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh are in dire need of life-saving support due to weeks of torrential monsoons that have given rise to ‘catastrophic’ floods in the three South Asian countries.

UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia, Jean Gough noted that millions of children have already been affected by these devastating floods as incessant rains continue to pose potential threat.  “Children have lost their homes, schools, and even friends and loved ones. There is a danger the worst could still be to come as rains continue and flood waters move south,” she added, according to a report by PTI.

According to official figures, at least 1,288 deaths have been reported since mid-August.

Gough believes the persistent rainfall and the resulting water accumulation have damaged school infrastructure among other things which will hamper children from attending classes for weeks, or even months. According to her, “Getting children back into school is absolutely critical in establishing a sense of stability for children during times of crisis and provides a sense of normality when everything else is being turned upside down”

Among other urgent needs of these children are clean drinking water, sufficient food supplies, hygiene supplies to control and combat the spread of potential diseases and safe evacuation places for the children to stay at, study and play.

ALSO READ Thousands displaced in Myanmar due to floods

Devastation from floods in India

According to a report by PTI, in the northern part of the country, over 31 million people have been affected in four states due to the extensive flooding. Out of this, 12.33 million sufferers are believed to be children.

The tally of houses damaged by the floods has reached 805,183 while 15,455 schools have been damaged, that has disrupted the education of children.

Additionally, the heavy downpour in Mumbai has already claimed five deaths due to drowning while twelve people, including two children have died due to the collapse of a building.

ALSO READ Why do buildings collapse?

Rescue operations are being undertaken in these states by their respective state governments, which include carrying out relief, recovery and rehabilitation operations.

Furthermore, the state governments have also sought multi-sectoral planning and coordination support from UNICEF in the three worst affected states. These include Bihar, Assam and Uttar Pradesh.

Devastation from floods in Bangladesh

According to Oxfam, with the rising water levels, the flooding is believed to be the worst since 1988 with nearly two-thirds of the country currently submerged under water.

More than 8 million people are reported to have been hit by the floods in Bangladesh, out of which 3 million are allegedly children. Primary and community educational institutions across the country have been terribly hit with as many as 2,292 schools reportedly damaged by the high water.

The country has also reported over 13,035 cases of water-borne diseases.

Devastation from floods in Nepal

Floods in Nepal have displaced 352,738 people from their homes, thus, affecting over 1.7 million people. The water has reportedly surfaced to dangerous levels, to escape which people are making use of makeshift rafts and elephants for rescue operations.

According to a report by PTI, damage to nearly 1,958 schools has affected the education of over 253,605 children.

Major media giants across the world are pledging their support to help combat the scale of  destruction.

In a blog post, Google Vice-President of South East Asia and India wrote, “We are committing $1 million from Google.org and Google employees to Goonj and Save the Children for their relief efforts.”

The NGO, Goonj aims to offer assistance to over 75,000 affected families across India and provide them with basic needs like food, blankets and hygiene supply while on the other hand, Save the Children is focused on setting up child-friendly public spaces for the children to have access to educational material.

Similar organizations have taken up an active role to help rebuild infrastructure for the community like roads, bridges and physical infrastructures.

What causes floods in South Asia?

Apart from the high magnitude of rainfall received this year, the floods in south Asia are believed to have been aggravated by human actions such as reckless construction on floodplains and in the coastal areas, waterways clogged by garbage and a faulty drainage system

According to a report published by VOA, experts have pointed out the inefficiency of the governments of the three countries and have said that is has become increasingly evident that the South Asian governments were unprepared for the annual monsoon showers.

However, disaster management officials also assert that it will be unfair to criticize the governments in view of the magnitude of the floods this year.


 

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Consulate General of India Chicago Celebrates the 4th Edition of “Kala-Utsav” , an Annual Festival to Promote Rich Heritage of Indian Art and Culture

Nearly 700 people comprising of the Indian-American Diaspora hailing from different parts of US Midwest, including many US nationals and different ethnic groups attended the event

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Consul General of India Chicago Ms. Neeta Bhushan with Kala-Utsav participants
Chicago, August 30, 2017: The Consulate General of India organized 4th edition of “Kala Utsav” the Annual Cultural Festival on August 26, 2017, at Yellow Box, Naperville with 19 different Indian Cultural Organizations to promote the rich heritage of Indian Art and Culture in the US Mid-west. The event provided a platform for over 200 renowned as well as new Indian artists, from across the US Midwest to showcase their talents through various performances. 
 
Hon’ble Cogressman from 8th District of Illinois Raja Krishmoorthi was Chief  Guest and Mr. Juan Ochoa, Special Advisor to Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emmanuel and Board of Director of MPEA [Metropolitan Exposition Authority] was the Special Guest on the occasion of kala utsav 2017. The festival was inaugurated by Consul General of India, Ms. Neeta Bhushan, by lighting of the lamp as per the traditional Indian customs. The Chief Guest, Special Guest, prominent community leaders and volunteers participated in the lighting of the lamp. This was followed by the Indian and the US National Anthems.
 
Nearly 700 people comprising of the Indian-American Diaspora hailing from different parts of US Midwest, including many US nationals and different ethnic groups attended the event.
 
In her inaugural address, Consul General Ms. Neeta Bhushan underlined the ancient, rich and diverse culture of India. She added that the objective of the annual ‘Kala Utsav’ festival, which was launched by the consulate in August 2014, is not only to encourage and showcase the extraordinary talents in the Indian-American community but also to reiterate and celebrate India’s unity in diversity.

MAFS Seniors Dance Group

 
During his address, Hon’ble Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi also appreciated the efforts of Consulate in providing a platform “kala utsav” for showcasing India’s various folks and classical dance forms as well rich musical tradition through the local talents.

Kala Utsav
Team Ghunguru Participates in Kala Utsav in Chicago

 
The function started with a stunning performance of ChendaMelam” by the Chicago Kalashetra which is the best –known and most popular kshetram vadyam (temple percussion) genre followed by a sequence of captivating dance performances representing the classical, folk and modern dance forms of India from different dance schools. 

Soorya Dance School

 
The classical dance segment included Kathak performances presented by Anila Sinha Foundation,  Bharatnatyam performance presented by Natya Dance School, Kuchupudi by Nrityamala Dance Academy, Odissi dance presented by Utkalaa Dance Group, Adardhnareshwar by Rina Rockers, Jugalbani and Bharatnatyam by Yakshagana from Indiana.  
The folk dance segment was quite large. There were 6 folk dance representing six States of India. The Bengali Folk Dance presented by Jhankaar Dance, Shingari Dance School presented Kerala Folk DanceRhythms & Grace Dance Studio presented Rajasthani folk dance, the Assam Association of Greater Chicago presented Assam’s Folk dance and high energy Punjabi folk dance “Gidda” by Bollywood Dance Academy. The performance of “Garba”, Gujarati folk dance, by MAFS Seniors Dance Group enthralled the audience.
 
The kids from Bolly Dance Fit and Fun creative kids also participated and performed in the festival.

Kids from Bolly Dance Fit and Fun creative kids

There were four presentations under the Contemporary/Fusion dance category in which over twenty-five artists participated. The presentation ‘Rain, Drought & Flood’ by Soorya Dance School captured the hearts of the audience.  “Bollywood Dance ” was presented by Bollywood Rhythm and Rhythm of Kerala by Team Ghunguru. Mythilli Dance Academy attempted to keep the flame of vibrancy in the heart by presenting “ Parai Drum Dance”.
 
Mrs. Lakshmi Parmeswaran and Ms. Tanvi Bhatt ably anchored the event as emcee and kept the audience engaged. Mr OP Meena, Consul [HOC], proposed a vote of thanks.