American Dream or Horror? Deaths of Indian Students in US in 2024 Point to Safety Concerns, Vulnerability – News18

Curated By: News Desk
Edited By: Shilpy Bisht
Last Updated: February 14, 2024, 15:31 IST
New Delhi, India
A study from 2017 showed that Indian students in the US have a 'high level of concern', and most of them worry about their physical safety and the feeling of being unwelcomed. (Shutterstock Photo)
Hundreds of Indian students migrate to the US to live their American dream, but the increasing reports on the number of deaths put spotlight on how safe are they in a foreign land.
The year 2024 has so far reported at least six deaths of Indian students or Indian-origin students. The latest death reported on February 8 was the death of Shreyas Reddy Beniger, a student at Linder School of Business in Ohio. Authorities have ruled out any foul play or hate crime angle in the case.
Neel Acharya, a student of computer and data science at Purdue University, was confirmed dead on February 6 after his mother had reported about him on social media about him missing. Acharya was dropped by an Uber driver at the institute. He had been missing since January 28, according to his mother’s post on X.
A 25-year-old student from Haryana, Vivek Saini, was hammered 50 times in Georgia’s Lithonia by a homeless man, Julian Faulkner. Saini, a student of MBA, used to work part-time at a grocery store that sheltered Faulkner, and reportedly gave him chips, water and a jacket. Faulkner, 53, attacked Saini after he refused to give free food to a homeless man. He has been arrested.
Another student, Akul Dhawan, was found dead outside the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) earlier in the month, according to a report by NDTV. The autopsy report suggests that the 18-year-old student died of hypothermia. The parents have, however, filed a complaint, blaming the police for negligence.
In another case, two Indian students, G Dinesh, 22, and Nikesh, 21, were found dead under suspicious conditions at their house in Connecticut on January 15, reported PTI. The students were from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The parents don’t know the reason of death of the roommates who had gone to the US for higher education around a month ago.
Data shows as many as 403 Indian students have died abroad since 2018. Of these 36 were reported in the US, the Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs V Muraleedharan told the Rajya Sabha in December 2023. The reasons include natural causes, accidents and medical conditions. Some of the Indian students have reported being the victims of hate crimes and racism.
According to a report by Hindustan Times, Indian students in the US said they always have to be situationally aware and have felt scared to travel alone.
Even a study from 2017 showed that Indian students in the US have a “high level of concern”, and most of them worry about their physical safety and the feeling of being unwelcomed.
The survey conducted by The Institute of International Education (IIE), a US-based non-profit, suggested that Indian students “have a high level of concern about potential study in the US, 80% of institutions responded that physical safety was the most pronounced concern for Indian students, while 31% of institutions indicated that feeling welcome was also a concern”.
The study warned that the concerns may lead to some Indian students accepting admission offers from other countries.
Mohan Nannapaneni, founder of volunteer-based non-profit organisation TEAM Aid, told PTI in an interview on Wednesday, “Not to exaggerate, but we deal with at least one death a day across the country and mostly among young students or H-1B employees who have recently immigrated” to the US from India.
“My suggestion is that students should not put themselves at risk or take up illegal, risky jobs. Your parents have a lot of expectations and you’re their hope,” he said.
He also suggested that Indian students should also look for opportunities in India, which as a tremendous growth potential.


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