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India ‘concerned’ over deaths of its students in US

Over a dozen young people from India have died in the US since the start of the year

The deaths of Indian students in the US, a popular destination for studies abroad, is a “big concern” for New Delhi, Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said following a spate of such incidents.

The diplomat noted that the cases do not appear to be interlinked. “Wherever anything unfortunate has happened to the students, it is of great tragedy for the family, and a big concern for us”, he said. “But our embassy or consulate has looked at every case and they’re unconnected.”

The Indian embassy and consulates have been asked to warn students about potentially dangerous areas of US cities, the minister said, adding that student welfare is “very important,” with over one million Indian citizens currently studying overseas.

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According to Times of India, 11 of the country’s citizens have reportedly died under mysterious circumstances within one month in the US. Some reports put the figure at 14.

Last week, the spokesperson for India’s External Affairs Ministry noted that the causes of the deaths were multiple, and investigations in at least two recent cases were underway. He noted that “community issues” have also been the cause in several cases, without elaborating.  According to New Delhi, while some cases are suspected to be murders, others are presumed to be suicides.

Earlier this month, Mohammed Abdul Arfath, 25, a student of Cleveland State University in Ohio, was found dead days after going missing. Unknown callers who demanded ransom money from his father in Telangana, India, claimed he had been abducted by a ‘drug gang.’ Uma Satya Sai Gadde, another Indian student, was found dead in the same US state a few days earlier.

READ MORE: Indian student violently attacked in ‘US murder capital’ (VIDEO)

In the most shocking of these incidents, Indian MBA graduate Vivek Saini was killed in Lithonia, Georgia by a homeless drug addict who bludgeoned him with a hammer nearly 50 times. Footage of the murder, captured by CCTV cameras, later surfaced online.

The Global Hindu Heritage Foundation (GHHF) has started a petition seeking an independent investigation by the FBI into the deaths, and listed 12 Indian students who had died in the US.

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