HomeCampusA string of 7 Indian student deaths shakes the community

A string of 7 Indian student deaths shakes the community

The recent deaths of seven Indian college students in the new year have left the South Asian American community worried and anxious.

A week ago, AsAmNews reported four Indian college students were reported dead. In just seven days the total amount has grown by three.

All of the men were of Indian and Indian American origin and 25 years old and under. The deaths involved a fatal beating, two who were missing and later found dead, two overdoses and two suicides.

NBC reports they all attended school in the Midwest and the East Coast, in states ranging from Connecticut to Indiana.

Officers found two Sacred Hearts University in students in Connecticut dead on Jan. 15. Dinesh Gattu and San Rakoti both accidentally overdosed. According to the Connecticut Chief Medical Examiner, fentanyl was involved.

One day later an MBA student from Haryana, Vivek Saini was hammered in the head by a homeless man. The homeless man hit him 50 times outside of the grocery store Saini worked at in Lithonia, Georgia.

Then four days later, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign student, Akul Dhawan died from hypothermia. He went missing after leaving his friend’s dorm. Campus police said they searched for the 18-year-old, but a passerby found the body just 500 feet from where he was last seen.

His Father, Ish Dhawan said, “It is so unimaginable that a kid can die in this and age right on the university campus.”

Sameer Kamath
Sameer Kamath via LinkedIn

Most recently, Sameer Kamath committed suicide on Feb. 5. The Purdue graduate student was discovered dead in the woods with a gunshot wound to the head.

In response, worried Purdue University student Virag Shah said, “It felt like a pattern, like, why was it another Indian kid?”

President of the school’s Indian Students Association, Shah expressed shared feelings of anxiety amongst his peers.

“It just felt traumatic,” Shah added.

Ever since Jan. 15 the number of Indian student deaths has risen. In total, 403 Indian students have died abroad since 2018, News18 reports.

Now there is a high level of concern within the South Asian community over the safety of students pursuing a higher education in America.

The community had long idolized studying in America. But, recent events have people questioning if their university would properly look after them.

Professor of American studies at Amherst College, Pawan Dhingra doubts that many will be deterred from American schools. However, the tragic events might cause some families to be more hesitant to send their children overseas.

“Indians can go elsewhere for education,” Dhingra said. “There are other places that are safer.”

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