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Indian Hate Crime Survivor Alok Madasani reminisces the horrific killing of his best friend

Madasani has been struggling to get over the horrific incident that night at the Austins Bar and Grill in Kanas City where Adam Purinton opened fire on them after throwing racial slurs "terrorist" and "get out of my country".

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A memorial for a hate crime victim; (representational Image) Source: Wikimedia

April 09, 2017: Alok Madasani, an Indian engineer who was a severely wounded in a “hate crime” episode in Kanas City in which his colleague Shrinivas Kuchibhotia was murdered by white American.

Both worked for Global Positioning System (GPS) maker Garmin in Olathe in Kansas state.

“I still don’t want to believe what’s happening. Words can’t describe how much I am missing Srinivas. It is hard to overcome losing your best friend in front of your eyes and just the fact that it could have been both of us,” Madasani told about his friend Kuchibhotla to PTI.

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Madasani has been struggling to get over the horrific incident that night at the Austins Bar and Grill in Kanas City where Adam Purinton opened fire on them after throwing racial slurs “terrorist” and “get out of my country”.

“Physically I am doing much better, due to the friends and colleagues at Garmin, but a long way to go from a mental strength standpoint, I still get flashes of what happened that night and feel sad that the person who took the bullet for me, Srinu, is no more”.

“His office space at Garmin was right next to my office and it is hard not to think about him, our memories together for last nine years will stay that way forever. I am focusing more on work and spend more time with my family, but it is not the same,” he said.

“I am just grateful to be alive,” he said.

“Coming back to work has been a blessing as I am surrounded by wonderful people here at Garmin and I could not have asked for more,” he further added.

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Madasani stated he was trying to be strong for the sake of his family and wife who is pregnant with their first baby.

“What gives me strength every day is to see the community standing together, making me believe that one act will not divide us,” Madasani answered.

“It was the malice intent of one person that took away a great human being but at the same time I am surrounded by amazing individuals who strengthen my belief in this community and what it stands for,” he said.

Madasani has received personal letters from all across the world telling him to stay strong. The kanas government has declared March 16 as “Indian-American Day” in remembrance of Srinivas and has received an amazing response.

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“We all wish the shooting never happened but I really want and request all to look at the positive side of how the community got together during these difficult times and once again proved that whatever form hatred takes, love will overcome it,” he appended.

Madasani has requested everyone to come forward be a part of the wonderful community.

“Spread love and kindness, take the time to share the culture, learn other cultures at the same time and most importantly let’s coexist,” Madasani said.

“If there is one thing that this situation has taught me, it is to be positive. It is easy to be positive when everything is going your way but I want to stay positive now and set an example for myself and anyone who is looking towards me for inspiration.

“If anything, I want people to remember Srinivas as a person who till his last breath helped people, rather than a victim of a senseless crime. I am here because of him,” Madasani said.

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Local and federal government authorities are investigating the assault as a conceivable hate crime. Purinton was accused of planned first-degree murder and two checks of attempted deliberate first-degree homicide.The judge decreed Purinton back to court on May 9 for a second appearance. He is being held on a USD 2 million bond.

– prepared by Naina Mishra of Newsgram, Twitter: Nainamishr94

 

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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Kansas Man Charged with Hate Crime for Shooting 2 Indian Men in US

A U.S. grand jury indicted Adam Purinton, 52, on charges of killing Srinivas Kuchibhotla and wounding Alok Madasani, both 32, because of their race, color, religion and national origin

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Adam Purinton
A grand jury charged Adam Purinton with federal hate crime and firearms counts in a shooting in a suburban Kansas City bar. VOA
  • Adam Purinton, 52 is guilty of charges of killing Srinivas Kuchibhotla and wounding Alok Madasani because of their race, color, religion and national origin
  • The shootings also injured an American, Ian Grillot, 24, who tried to intervene.
  • If convicted, Purinton could face capital punishment or life in prison

US, June 10, 2017: A Kansas man, accused of shouting “get out of my country” as he shot dead one Indian man and injured another at a bar, faces federal hate crime and firearms charges, the U.S. Justice Department said on Friday.

A U.S. grand jury indicted Adam Purinton, 52, on charges of killing Srinivas Kuchibhotla and wounding Alok Madasani, both 32, because of their race, color, religion and national origin.

Purinton was also charged with a federal firearms violation in February 22 incident at Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe, a Kansas City suburb. The shootings also injured an American, Ian Grillot, 24, who tried to intervene.

ALSO READ: Embassy tells Indians in Qatar to stop panicking

“The indictment alleges that Purinton committed the offenses after substantial planning and premeditation, attempted to kill more than one person in a single criminal episode, and knowingly created a grave risk of death to others on the scene,” the Justice Department said in a news release.

An attorney for Purinton could not immediately be reached for comment. He also faces state murder and attempted murder charges.

Local media reported at the time that Purinton thought he had killed two Iranian men.

Purinton’s indictment comes amid growing concern about a wave of hateful actions across the United States aimed at blacks, Jews, Muslims and other groups targeted by inflammatory rhetoric that gained prominence during the 2016 presidential election.

If convicted, Purinton could face capital punishment or life in prison. Justice officials said they had not yet decided whether to seek the death penalty. (VOA)

 

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Raja Chari: Indian American Astronaut chosen by NASA

Raja Chari, an American of Indian descent, has been chosen by NASA as one of the 12 astronauts for a new space mission.

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Raja Chari. Twitter.
  • Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
  • Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
  • Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August

June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.

The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.

Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.

The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393