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