Hindu Samhati chief Tapan Ghosh created controversy on Saturday when he suggested that Hindus should show their identity by wearing a tilak (coloured powder worn usually on the forehead) whereas women should wear bindi (a red dot worn on the centre of the forehead) for security. Ghosh also suggested that Muslim clerics should tell their followers to embrace Hindu and Christian symbols to keep themselves safe.
"Hindus should show identity by wearing tilak, women should wear bindi for security. Muslim clerics must tell followers to embrace Hindu and Christian symbols for security," Ghosh told ANI.
Ghosh's comments came after two Indians were shot inside a bar in Olathe city in Kansas in the US on Friday, in what is said to be a racially-motivated crime. One of victims, 32-year-old engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla, died in the incident, while the other, his colleague Alok Madasani, suffered injuries. An American, Ian Grillot, also sustained injuries after he tried to stop the gunman, but is now in a stable condition.
Adam Purinton, the 51-year-old gunman, was taken into custody five hours after the shooting and has been charged with murder and attempted murder. Both Kuchibhotla and Madasani were living in the US and working for Garmin.
"I need an answer from the government that what is it they are going to do to stop this hate crime. Not just for my husband who lost his battle, but for everyone, all those people of any race, either Asian, African or American who have lost their loved ones to something as bad as this," Kuchibhotla's wife Sunayana Dumala told media.
Meanwhile, Madasani told the New York Times that the gunman asked them what visa they were currently on and whether they were staying in the country illegally. He also confirmed reports that the attack was racially motivated.
"He (the shooter Adam Purinton) asked us what visa are we currently on and whether we are staying here illegally," Madasani said, adding that he chose not to respond to the question since "people do stupid things all the time."
"But this guy took it to the next level," he added.