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US envoy reassures Indian students amid safety concerns

Expressing condolences to affected families, he underscored the US government’s commitment to ensuring justice for victims and holding perpetrators accountable….reports Asian Lite News

Addressing concerns regarding the safety of Indian students studying in the United States, US Ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti urged students to remain vigilant and take appropriate safety precautions.

The envoy emphasised that students should stay connected with peers and to utilize campus safety resources to enhance their awareness and preparedness.

In an recent interview with ANI, Garcetti acknowledged the distressing incidents involving Indian students. Emphasising that such incidents can happen statistically in a country of this scale, he urged the students to remain vigilant and take adequate safety measures.

“First and foremost, any families, and I’ve talked to some of those families who have faced a tragedy with their own son or daughter. I mean, our hearts go out. We take the justice issues very seriously of bringing to justice any perpetrators with, you know, a quarter million now a year, statistically, this is going to happen. But that’s not acceptable to a parent if it happens to your child,” Garcetti stated.

Expressing condolences to affected families, he underscored the US government’s commitment to ensuring justice for victims and holding perpetrators accountable.

Urging Indian students to follow preventive measures, Garcetti advised students to be vigilant and familiarise themselves with safe neighbourhoods and to follow advice given to travellers worldwide.

“The same sort of advice we give to travellers when they go around the world, including in places like India, is that we know that these things can happen, but you can play a role in lessening the risk,” he remarked.

The envoy underlined the importance of travelling in groups, staying connected with peers, and avoiding risky behaviours, including illegal drug use. Additionally, he encouraged students to engage with campus safety resources to enhance their awareness and preparedness.

With approximately 2,45,000 Indian students pursuing education on American campuses annually, safety has become a paramount issue for both students and their families.

Responding to concerns about the perception of safety in American college cities compared to other countries like Australia and New Zealand, Garcetti reassured that while challenges exist, crime rates, especially violent crime, have decreased significantly in recent years.

“No, I think there’s always just safe things to do, but there’s not. I mean, crime has gone down, violent crime, especially in the last few years. It’s much safer than it was in the 1970s and 1980s,” Garcetti affirmed.

He attributed the heightened awareness of incidents to the rapid dissemination of information through social media.

Asserting that the United States is a safe destination for Indian students, Garcetti extended a warm welcome and affirmed the nation’s appreciation for its international student community.

“We encourage Indian students to come. We love our Indian students,” he said.

He emphasised that safety precautions are essential regardless of the destination, urging students to prioritise their well-being wherever they choose to pursue their education.

Notably, multiple distressing incidents have been reported lately from the US involving Indian nationals or people of Indian origin.

As many as five Indian students were reported dead in separate incidents in the first two months of 2024.

In March itself, a 25-year-old Indian student went missing from the Cleveland area of the US, following which his family has urged the External Affairs Ministry to find their son after receiving a “ransom call.”

Mohammed Abdul Arafat, a native of Hyderabad, went to the US for his masters in IT from Cleveland University in May 2023 but has been missing since March 7, 2024.

His father, Mohd Saleem, said that after ten days, they received a phone call where the person was saying that their son (Abdul Arafat) had been kidnapped and asked for a USD 1200 ransom. (ANI)

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