A church service in Olathe, Kan., in honor of two immigrants from India who were shot in a bar.

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Jeena Sharma was applying for a work visa that would allow her to come to the US when the news broke that two Indian engineers in the country had been shot at a Kansas bar by a man who drunkenly questioned their immigration status.

The shootings, which took place last Wednesday, was quickly eclipsed by other happenings across the nation, specifically those happenings in Washington. However, back home in Mumbai, Sharma received a stern lecture from her family against the move.

“She asked me: ‘Why do you even need to go to the States? Why do you need to go to a country that doesn’t want you? I’m going to be scared for your life every day,’” Sharma said she was told by her mother.

The body of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, the 32-year-old software engineer fatally shot in the Olathe, Kan., bar, was expected to arrive by Monday in Hyderabad.

India is second only to China as a feeder to American colleges, with around 165,000 students enrolled in the 2015-16 school year, according to the Institute of International Education. Additionally, Indians are the largest recipients of temporary skilled worker visas, known as H-1B visas, which the Trump administration intends to cut back on. And close to half a million Indians, who mostly went to the United States legally as students or tourists or on work visas, have stayed on after their visas expired, the Pew Research Center estimates.


Reports of rising hostility in America toward immigrants have stunned many Indians and Indian-Americans, said Alyssa Ayres, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, who visited Hyderabad recently.

“I had a guy on a plane sitting next to me, who turned to me and said, ‘Is it true, what they say about America under Trump?’” she told The New York Times. “There is a kind of confusion: What is happening to the United States? People can’t believe what they’re reading.”

The diplomatic effect, if any, of the Kansas shootings has thus far been muted. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not commented on the incident, though the subject will certainly be raised this week, along with the thorny issue of curtailing H-1B visas, when Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar visits Washington.

Sunny Choudhary, a 23-year-old college student, said she opted against applying to graduate school in America because “recent conditions, they are turning into, I think, hostile conditions.” After the election of President Trump, he added, “my parents said: ‘No, you should not go there. Now we won’t let you go there.’ ”

Information from The New York Times contributed to this report.