The Indo – US ties seem to be back to square one after the much hyped visit of the US President Barack Obama to India. First the US President raised the religious intolerance issue in India making the ruling BJP running for cover. And coming close on these heels is the alleged brutal manhandling of an Indian citizen Sureshbhai Patel, 57, by US police.
A bitter India has raised this issue with the US administration and demanded expeditious investigation into the matter against the use of extreme force by American police on an Indian national. A senior official in the US embassy was called to the South Block by the External Affairs Ministry official in-charge of the Americas division to convey India’s deep concern regarding the matter.
Spokesperson of External Affairs Ministry Syed Akbaruddin said that concern was expressed at what appears from media reports the excessive use of force by police. India has requested expeditious investigation and sharing of information about the probe and action taken. However Akbaruddin had earlier said that Consulate General in Atlanta was in touch with police authorities and will provide all assistance. “Consulate General in Atlanta in touch with Madison police chief and providing all necessary consular assistance,”.
Sureshbhai Patel, 57, was visiting his son in Alabama, when he was left partially paralyzed when a police officer forced him on ground after receiving report of a “suspicious person”. Sureshbhai family said he was walking down the sidewalk in the neighborhood when he was stopped by the police. Since he did not know English, he was unable to respond to the questions asked by police except for saying “no English”.
According to his lawyers, a police officer indulged in violence with no provocation, forcing Sureshbhai to the ground face-first, leaving the grandfather bloody and partially paralyzed. Sureshbhai Patel is currently undergoing treatment for fused vertebrae. His family is planning to file a lawsuit. Several Indian-American organizations and rights bodies have condemned the incident.