New Jersey community gathers to raise voice against Kansas hate crime

Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin (with megaphone) speaking at the rally.


Braving the cold weather, a large number of people gathered on Oak Tree Road here Feb. 26 participate in a candle-light vigil for the victims of the hate crime in Kansas, which left one dead and two others injured. Srinivas Kuchibhotla was fatally shot at a local bar and his friend Alok Reddy Madasani injured by 51-year-old Navy veteran Adam Purinton, who also shouted to them, “Get out of my country,” after he reportedly mistook him for immigrants from the Middle East. Twenty-four-year-old Ian Grillot who tried to Grillot, 24, says he tried to intervene when gunshots rang out at Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe, was also injured.

The Feb, 26 event event was organized by the South Asian Community Outreach (SACO) under the leadership of Sam Khan, founder and president, Dr. Nimisha Shukla and other community members. The event was part of SACO’s effort to bring the communities together and unite as one in tough times, with the SACO slogan: “Hate for None, Love for All”.

Shanti Nara, County Freeholder (with megaphone) speaking at the rally with Freeholder Kenneth Armwood and SACO founder Sam Khan Khan also seen.

Members of the South Asian community, representatives from several community and interfaith organizations, as well as elected officials participated in the event to show their solidarity and support, a SACO press release said.

Community leader Peter Kothari (with megaphone) speaking at the rally.

Sai Kota, Kuchobhotla’s cousin, and other family members, also spoke at the vigil and requested everyone to sign the petition against hate crime.

People who attended and spoke at the vigil included Middlesex County Freeholder Shanti Nara, County Freeholder Charles Kenny, Freeholder Kenneth Armwood, Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin, Azra Baig South Brunswick Board Of Education Member, members of the organization Indian-American Muslim Council, along with their NJ Chapter President Minhaj Khan, Pakistan Day Parade Chairman Dr. Zubair, New Pakistan PAC Dr. Ejaz Ahmed, Members of the TANA Telugu Association of North America, Srujal and Saurin Parikh from FIA, General Secretary of the Federation of Malayalee Associations of Americas (FOMAA) Jiby M Thomas, Syriac Kurian, Aniyan George, President of KANJ Swapna Rajesh, Ajith Hariharan, Saji Paul, Jos Vilayil, Anil Nair, Jay Kulambil, Jithesh Nambiar, Ajayan Venugopal, Sheela Sreekumar, Dr.Smitha Manoj, Anne George, Peter George, Savith Sampath from the Sadhana Coalition of Progressive Hindus, Secretary of NJ World Malalayee Council Jinesh Thampi , community leaders Manher Shah and Harshed Patel, Peter Kothari, Juned Qazi, Harkesh Thakur from the Jersey City Sikh Temple, Maliha Khan Mua and past District Governor of Lions Club Mahesh Chittnis.