Washington: The wife of an Indian software engineer, who was shot dead in the US last year in what the police said was a hate crime incident, has been invited at President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address tomorrow by a Republican leader from Kansas, Kevin Yoder.
Sunayana Dumala, the wife of Srinivas Kuchibhotla — the Hyderabad engineer who was shot dead at a bar in Kansas in February last year — is on the guest list, Mr Yoder said.
“Each year, I have the privilege of inviting one guest to attend the president’s State of the Union address. This year, I have invited Sunayana Dumala, widow of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, the Indian immigrant who was tragically killed in the hate crime shooting last year at in Olathe,” Mr Yoder tweeted.
Mr Kuchibhotla was at the bar with his friend, when a man allegedly yelled “get out of my country” and shot at them. Mr Kuchibhotla died. His friend Alok Madasani was injured. So was another man who tried to intervene, Ian Grillot. Both have survived.
The Indian-American community has appreciated the invitation to Ms Dumala.
Brijpal Singh, chairman of the India Association of Kansas City, said this step will not only assure the Indian community but also send a strong message about the support from elected representatives and administration toward the Indian community in the US.
The State of the Union address is a traditional annual speech of the US President to a joint session of the Congress where he gives an account of the situation in the country. Mr Trump yesterday said he will focus largely on trade and immigration during his first speech.
“It’s a big speech, an important speech, we covered immigration,” Mr Trump said. “We worked on it hard, covered a lot of territory, including our great success with the markets and with the tax cut.”
The US President has been pushing for what he calls an “America first” policy in a wide range of issues from trade to immigration to manufacturing.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters that the theme of the address is “building a safe, strong, and proud America”.
It will be must-watch TV event, she said as she gave details of the guests.
“Some of these individuals’ stories are heroic, some are patriotic, others are tragic. But all of them represent the unbreakable American spirit, and will inspire our nation to continue growing stronger, prouder, and more prosperous,” Ms Sanders said.
Several Democratic lawmakers have said they will not attend the address in protest against Mr Trump reportedly calling some African nations “shithole” countries, a remark that the US President has denied saying.
With inputs from PTI