Rise in deaths of Indian students overseas a big concern: Jaishankar

According to Jaishankar, some students were murdered over personal issues whereas others were victims of accidents.

BySouth First Desk

Published Apr 16, 2024 | 12:09 PMUpdatedApr 16, 2024 | 12:09 PM

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Amid a rise in violent attacks on Indian students in the US in which many have lost their lives, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Monday, 15 April, that such cases are unconnected but certainly a big concern for the government.

According to him, some students were murdered over personal issues whereas others were victims of accidents.

Speaking to reporters, Jaishankar responded to a question about the rise in the number of Indian students becoming victims of violent attacks in foreign countries.

“Obviously, in every case, wherever anything unfortunate has happened to the students, it is of great tragedy for the family, and a big concern for us but…our embassy or consulate has looked at every case and they’re unconnected,” he said.

Embassies have been instructed to keep in touch with students and chat with them to warn them especially about dangerous areas of cities to avoid, he said, adding that there were 11 lakh to 12 lakh Indian students living in various countries.

“Student welfare is important. Every Indian going out, you have Modi’s guarantee. Student welfare is particularly important for us,” Jaishankar said.

A day after the EAM spoke of the deaths, the mortal remains of a Hyderabad student reached his residence on Tuesday, 16 April.

His death raised concerns about the safety of Indian students abroad, considering in just four months of 2024, 10 Indians have already lost their lives on US soil. A majority of these students belong to the two Telugu states.

Also Read: At least 10 Indian students have died abroad since January 2024, most from Andhra, Telangana

Indian student deaths 

In February, former MP from Andhra Pradesh, Jayadev Galla raised questions related to Indian student fatalities abroad in the Lok Sabha.

As per data shared by the Ministry of External Affairs in response to this query, the tally of Indian student fatalities abroad since 2018 paints a harrowing picture: Canada – 91, UK – 48, Russia – 40, USA – 36, Australia – 35, and Germany – 20.

In response to Galla’s question about whether the Union government has any schemes/initiatives to provide care and assistance to students in foreign countries, the Ministry of External Affairs explained that there are Indian Missions/Posts abroad that arrange welcome ceremonies for students enrolled in foreign universities, encouraging them to register with the Missions/Posts.

These officials visit the students regularly and resolve any issues faced on a priority basis, the Ministry said. Grievances are responded to through various channels such as calls, walk-ins, e-mails, social media, 24×7 helplines, open houses, and the MADAD portal.

In case of any untoward incidents, it is immediately taken up with the concerned authorities of the host country to ensure that the incident is properly investigated and the perpetrators are punished.

Also Read: Hyderabad student found dead in US

Recent deaths

On 5 April, 2024, the Indian Consulate in New York confirmed the death of Uma Satya Sai Gadde, an Indian student in Cleveland, Ohio, vowing comprehensive support, including expedited repatriation of Gadde’s remains to India.

On 3 April, 2024, 22-year-old Achanta Revanth, a student hailing from Bapatla, Andhra Pradesh, was travelling in a car with three friends, on their way to a birthday party, when the driver lost control of the car due to bad weathe. The vehicle overturned, resulting it Revanth’s death.

18 March, 2024, witnessed the brutal death of Engineering student Paruchuri Abhijit, a 20-year-old from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh studying at Boston University, whose lifeless body was dumped in a forest in the US. His assailants are still at large.

In March, a 34-year-old trained classical dancer from India, Amarnath Ghosh, was shot dead in St Louis, Missouri.

Sameer Kamath, a 23-year-old Indian-American student at Purdue University, was found dead in a nature preserve in Indiana on 5 February.

On 2 February, Vivek Taneja, a 41-year-old Indian-origin IT executive, suffered life-threatening injuries during an assault outside a restaurant in Washington.

In January, 18-year-old Akul Dhawan, a University of Illinois student was found unresponsive outside a campus building. Investigations revealed that he died due to hypothermia, with authorities ruling that acute alcohol intoxication and prolonged exposure to extremely cold temperatures significantly contributed to his death.

In another tragedy that month, 25-year-old Indian student Vivek Saini was hammered to death by a homeless drug addict in Georgia.

Also Read: Two students from AP and Telangana found dead in US

(With PTI inputs)