Indian-Americans, particularly Hindus and Sikh, have become victims of Islamophobia and xenophobia in the US, the community members said as they held an awareness rally against hate crimes in front of the White House seeking President Donald Trump's intervention in the matter.
"Hindus have been recently affected and victimised (in the US) as a result of Islamophobia. It does affect our community as well," Vindhya Adapa, 27, a Virginia-based corporate lawyer, told PTI outside the White House on Sunday.
Adapa along with a few dozen Indian-Americans representing various Indian-American groups from in and around the Greater Washington Area held a peaceful demonstration in view of the recent surge in hate crimes against the community.
"A recent example of that is recent shooting and murder of an IT personnel in Kansas, who was mistaken for being an Arab and a Muslim. I do think that the current political climate is eventually going to target all communities including Hindu-Americans," said S Sheshadri, a young Indian-American doctor and Adapa's friend.
"We are here today to raise awareness against hate crimes particularly against people of Indian origin. This is not necessarily a protest against the Trump Administration. We are here to seek bipartisan support against the hate crimes that has been happening recently against Indian-Americans," Adapa said, urging the President to acknowledge and condemn what is happening.
"I would say what is happening against the Indian-American community is a result of xenophobia, Islamic phobia and the anti-immigrant statements that have come out from the Administration," she alleged.
"A lot of Sikh people and Hindu people are mistaken for being Muslim, for being Middle eastern," she said, adding that the way to tackle that is to spread awareness about these different communities.
In a petition memorandum submitted to President Trump, the recently established Coalition of Indian American organisations of the USA, which organised the event, urged him to intervene in the matter and take steps to punish the culprits under federal hate crimes law.
It also urged the President to allay the fears of the Indian-American community and show his support, and take remediation steps to eliminate the hate. "A message should go out to the people of this country from the administration that no citizen should take the law into their hands and it will not be tolerated by the government," said the petition. The peaceful protest was organised in the aftermath of a series of hate crime incidents against Indian-Americans.