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7,000 immigrants from India in Kankas (US) Threatened by Visa Changes and Ethnic Violence

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Kansas City and surrounding towns are home to over 7,000 Indians and Indian Americans (R. Taylor/VOA)

USA, May 4, 2017: Nearly 7,000 immigrants from India live in greater Kansas City, Kansas, in the middle of the U.S. and on the border between two red states.

Temples, Indian grocery stores, and restaurants have been serving the community for decades.

But now proposed changes to H1-B visa policies could leave many of the Indian-Americans in Kansas City and across the U.S. without jobs and, potentially, forced to return home.

President Donald Trump recently signed an executive order aimed at making it harder for companies to hire skilled foreign workers under the H1-B visa program. Overwhelmingly, those workers have come from India. The U.S. government reports that in 2015, 71% of H1-B visa holders were Indian.

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“I may lose my opportunities and my career may be done,” said Akhil Kodaru, a project manager at the Sprint telecommunications company in Kansas City.

Sprint, which largely hires H1-B visa holders through contracting companies, has had multiple large-scale layoffs in recent years, and many employees believe that should the company be required to vastly increase the salaries for these visa holders, they would be fired. Increasing salaries is one proposal that has been made to reform the H1-B visa program.

The Trump order called for a multi-agency review of the program which will take time, and visa holders in Kansas City are trying to reserve panic for when the full consequences of the proposed action become clearer.

“If you start worrying today then you cannot do your job,” said Vijaykumar Kalimuthu Ponnusamy. “We are here to do the job, at this point – spend some time with the family, friends, and at work – and we can be proactive in …understand(ing) the law and then be prepared for what it is.”

Like many Indians here, Ponnusamy is choosing to remain calm and continue to plant roots in the city.

Hate crime

The Indian community has also been touched by violence.

Srinivas Kuchibhotla was killed and Alok Madasani, injured, as they enjoyed an after-work drink at Austins Bar and Grill in the suburb of Olathe last February.Charged with the shootings, Adam Purinton (51) had been heard earlier making ethnic slurs about the two men.

Both men worked as engineers at GPS-maker Garmin, and both were members of one of the 24 cricket teams supported by the community.

One of the 24 cricket teams in Kansas City practices on a shared field in the town of Olathe (R. Taylor/VOA)
One of the 24 cricket teams in Kansas City practices on a shared field in the town of Olathe (R. Taylor/VOA)

A team member says the shooting has changed the play. “We don’t get that upset because we have our set of arguments on the ground over the game but that always stays in the back of your heart now,” Hemant Tiwari, captain of one of the teams based in Olathe, told VOA.

Though the initial shock of the hate crime has largely worn off, many Indians see the city they call home differently.

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Brijpal Singh, a board member of the Indian Association of Kansas City and 20-year resident of the area, said he cannot help but be more cautious.

“Earlier, if I had to get groceries at 11, 12 at night I would get in my car and just go,” Singh told VOA. “But now…there is some fear. You start thinking, ‘Am I as free to move around as I was, or do I have to think again before I make a decision to go out at odd hours of the night?’”

Cricket league

Made up mostly of South Asians, the cricket league has grown and spread to share a small number of fields with other sports leagues such as rugby.

Since the shooting, the government of Kansas has promised to build a real cricket pitch. The gesture means a lot to the community.

Anil Singh, a cricket player in Olathe, has been in the area for nearly ten years and just last month became a U.S. citizen. Though he worries for his friends on H1-B visas and was shaken by the shooting, he said he is not considering leaving, although he had never planned to stay so long.

“We moved here from New York City and we never thought…I mean who goes to Kansas, right?” He told VOA, running to meet us from bowling a round at cricket practice.“But now, yeah, picket fence, house, dog, kids!”

The cricket league, which started as a few Sprint employees playing in the company campus’s basketball court, is just one of many activities South Asians in the Kansas City area can participate in.

“I think in other bigger cities like New York and all people are really too busy to even socialize with each other,” Singh’s wife Ajit Marhas said.

“But here it’s a very small community so weekends are always busy with them – they are like family.” (VOA)

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Actress Aparna Sen to attend 8th Chicago South Asian Film Festival

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Legendary Indian film actor and Padma Shri awardee Aparna Sen will be in Chicago this week. She is synonymous with bringing Bengali cinema closer to the masses not just in India but globally too finds an artistic proximity to Chicago. She says that the architecture of the city reminds her of a studio set from a movie.

Currently in the US, Sen has been having a very hectic schedule as her latest directorial venture, Sonata, is all set to be screened at film festivals in the US.

Amidst her busy schedule Aparna Sen takes out some time to talk to
Hi India! about her creative pursuits, the scope of regional Indian cinema in the US and of course about her love for museums and eateries in Chicago

“I have been to Chicago twice before this, and I’ve enjoyed the city hugely both times. I particularly like the downtown area with its interesting art deco architecture, its museums and eateries.” – Aparna Sen

Sen who has also directed critically acclaimed films such as 36 Chowringee Lane, that won her Best Director Award at the Indian National Film Awards is looking forward to the screening of her recent directorial film Sonata in America

Aparna Sen will be in the city to attend the 8th edition of Chicago South Asian Film Festival and is appreciative of the interest alternate Indian films have been creating in the US.

(IANS)

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India Progressing Better than US, China in Digital Healthcare

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Digital Healthcare
Digital Healthcare in India. Pixabay

New Delhi, Sep 22, 2017: India has progressed better than US and China in terms of its specialist doctors adopting digital modes to interact with patients and prescribe medicines, a study revealed on Friday.

According to the study, gap in US between the face-to-face medicines and medical representatives triggered mails narrowed down from 15 per cent in 2015 to 12 per cent in 2017. The study stated that digital channels are slowly but surely gaining ground over traditional ones. This year, the gap further narrowed to around 12 per cent.

 “India witnessed the narrowing of the gap between face-to-face tablet and medical representatives triggered mail from 34 per cent in 2015 to 8 per cent in 2017,” said the study conducted by Indegene — a company offering research and development solutions to healthcare and pharmaceutical enterprises.

The highest number of specialist who have adopted digital platform to deal with patients are Cardiologists, General Surgeons, Pulmonologists, Endocrinologists, and Oncologists.

(IANS)

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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)