- In another case, a 23-year-old Indian American a doctorate student in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Purdue University was found dead earlier this week.
Syed Mazahir Ali, an Indian student from Hyderabad, who is pursuing a master’s degree at Indiana Wesleyan University, has been left seriously injured after an attack by four robbers in Chicago on Feb. 4. In a video recording shared on X, formerly Twitter, Ali can be seen bleeding profusely as he details the horrific attack.
The tragic incident comes at a time when attacks against students of Indian origin in U.S. universities are on the rise.
Earlier this week, a 23-year-old Indian American student at Purdue University was found dead in the woods near the campus. Sameer Kamath, a doctorate student in the Mechanical Engineering Department, graduated from the department in August 2023 with a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. He is the second Indian student from the university to die in the past month. Neel Acharya, an Indian student studying at Purdue University in Indiana, was found dead a day after he went missing. No other details are available on Kamath. His death is still being investigated by the Warren County Coroner’s Office and Sheriff’s Office.
In a now-viral video, widely shared on X, Ali recalls the incident, saying that four men attacked him while he was returning home with a packet of food in his hand. The CCTV footage of the incident reveals that Ali was chased by three of his attackers. He can be seen trying to outrun the attackers as soon as he realizes something is wrong. However, when he slipped near his house while running away, he was kicked and punched by those men. His phone was stolen in the attack. “Please help me, bro. Please help me,” he’s heard saying.
Meanwhile, his wife Syeda Ruquiya Fatima Razvi, who is in Hyderabad, has appealed to India’s Minister of External Affairs Dr. S. Jaishankar to help her husband. The Consulate General of India in Chicago responded on X. “Consulate is in touch with Syed Mazahir Ali and his wife in India Syeda Ruquiya Fatima Razvi and assured all possible assistance,” read the post.
Kamath’s death marks the fourth such tragedy on a college campus. Shreyas Reddy Beniger, a student at Linder School of Business in Cincinnati, Ohio, was found dead yon Feb 1. Authorities have ruled out any foul play or a possibility of a hate crime in the case. A few days before, 18-year-old Akul B. Dhawan, a student at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign was found dead last month with signs of hypothermia. His body was discovered by a university employee on the porch of a building, almost nine hours after his friend reported him missing. Originally from San Mateo, California, he was a freshman majoring in electrical engineering.
Earlier in January, another Indian man was killed by a homeless man inside the store where he worked in Lithonia, Georgia. Vivek Saini recently completed his MBA from the University of Alabama and worked as a part-time clerk at a Chevron Food Mart. Two years ago, he came to the U.S. after completing his B.Tech in Computer Science from Chandigarh University.
These deaths have raised the alarm among Indian students here as well at back home. According to Indian news website Firstpost, “as many as 403 Indian students studying abroad have died since 2018”, out of which “36 were reported in the U.S.” The cause of deaths include “natural causes, accidents, medical conditions” as well as hate crimes,” the report added.
According to an Open Doors report, there was a 35% increase in the number of Indian students studying in the United States in the academic year 2022-23, a. Indian students make up more than 25% of the total number of international students in the US. India surpassed China as the largest source of international graduate students here.