Updated February 7th, 2024 at 13:25 IST

America NOT Calling: 7 Deaths Raise Questions About Indian Students' Safety in US

7 Indian Students Dead In US in Past Few Weeks: These incidents have sparked concern and raised questions about the safety of Indian individuals.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Are Indian Students Safe in US? | Image:PTI
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New Delhi: The allure of the American Dream continues to draw hundreds of thousands of Indians to the United States each year, with many considering it a preferred destination for education and opportunity. However, recent events have cast a shadow over this perception of safety and security for Indian expatriates and students. Since December 2023, a series of tragic incidents have been reported, with at least seven deaths reported among Indian or Indian-origin students. These incidents have sparked concern and raised questions about the safety of Indian individuals particularly students residing in the US. 

Seven deaths of Indian students in the past few weeks

  1. Sameer Kamath: The latest incident was reported on Monday. Sameer Kamath, a 23-year-old Indian-American student pursuing his doctorate in mechanical engineering from Purdue University was found dead in a nature preserve, the Warren County Coroner’s office reported. The deceased had US citizenship and had completed his master’s degree in mechanical engineering in August 2023 from Purdue University, confirmed the coroner’s office. As per Kamath's LinkedIn profile, he received his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and enrolled in Purdue in 2021.
  2. Shreyas Reddy Beniger: A 19-year-old Indian-origin student named Shreyas Reddy Beniger was found dead in Cincinnati, Ohio. The 19-year-old Reddy was a student at the Linder School of Business in Ohio and his parents who have American passports are currently residing in Hyderabad. The Indian consulate in New York took to X, to confirm the reports and expressed deep regrets on the matter.  
  3. Neel Acharya:  Neel Acharya, a student of Purdue University was confirmed dead by the Tippecanoe County Coroner's Office. Gaury Acharya, mother of the deceased student of Purdue University took to X and appealed for her son's whereabouts. “Our son Neel Acharya has been missing since yesterday Jan 28 (12:30 AM EST) He is studying at Purdue University in the US. He was last seen by the Uber driver who dropped him off at Purdue University. We are looking for any info on him. Please help us if you know anything". 
  4. Vivek Saini: He was brutally murdered by a homeless man in Georgia. The perpetrator of the tragic incident killed Saini with repeated blows from a hammer by a homeless man inside a store in Lithonia, Georgia, US. 
  5. Akul Dhawan: He was found dead outside the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) recently. As per the Champaign County Coroner's office, preliminary autopsy results indicate that the cause of death was attributed to hypothermia.
  6. G Dinesh and Nikesh: On Jan 15, two Indian students were found dead under suspicious conditions at their Connecticut accommodation in the US. One of the two students who died, G Dinesh (22), was from Wanaparthy in Telangana and Nikesh (21) was from Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh. The family members of the Telangana student had no idea about the cause of his death. They went to the US for their higher studies nearly a month ago. According to the family member, Dinesh went to Hartford, Connecticut in the US for higher studies on December 28, 2023, while Nikesh reached the US a few days later.

Are Indian Students Safe in the US?

A 2017 study conducted by The Institute of International Education (IIE), a US-based non-profit organization, revealed significant apprehensions among Indian students regarding their safety and sense of belonging in the United States. The study highlighted that a large proportion of Indian students expressed worries about their physical safety and feeling unwelcome while considering studying in the US.

According to the survey, 80% of institutions reported that physical safety was a primary concern for Indian students, with 31% also acknowledging concerns about feeling welcome.

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Moreover, the study cautioned that these concerns could potentially influence Indian students' decisions regarding their choice of study destination, leading them to consider alternative options offered by other leading host countries.

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Published February 7th, 2024 at 13:25 IST