Washington, DC. The Indian-American community was shaken again by yet another fatal shooting of an Indian graduate student on an American university campus. Abhijit Mahato, 29, a Ph.D. engineering candidate at Duke University, died from gunshot wounds in his apartment at the Anderson Apartment complex Friday night, January 19th. This tragedy renews memories of the fatal shooting of two Indian Ph.D. students on the campus of Louisiana State University less than two months ago on December 13th. 

In the earlier LSU crime, a four agency taskforce has yet to find a motive or arrest any suspects. The motive in Mahato's murder appears to be robbery. With the absence of a possible motive in this earlier crime, it was suggested that the murders of Chandrashekhar Reddy Komma, 31, a biology student from Kurnool, and Kiran Kumar Allam, 33, a chemistry student from Hyderabad might have been racially motivated. Duke University officials are quick to point out there is no history of prejudice or targeting of Indian students there. Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs at Duke said, "There are around 200 Indian students and faculty at Duke. With over 12,000 graduate and undergraduate students, Duke is one of the biggest campuses in the U.S. as well as being one of the most racially and ethnically diverse, with 117 nationalities."

"No matter what the motive, our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of this young man struck down so senselessly and we renew our hope for the guilty to be brought to justice," says Sanjay Puri, Chairman of the U.S.-India Political Action Committee (USINPAC). "Once again, we also call for anyone with actual information in either crime to come forward to the authorities."

Given that earlier this month an individual was charging with providing false information in the LSU case and that the taskforce has still come up empty in its investigation, the need for valuable information is even greater and USINPAC hopes that there will be an even speedier resolution in the Duke University case. 

The U.S. India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) is the political voice of 2.5 million Indian-Americans. USINPAC provides bipartisan support to candidates for federal, state and local office who support the issues that are important to the Indian-American community. For more information, go to www.usinpac.com



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