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Silent Bobby Jindal jolts university - Governor sticks to policy of Indians at arm's length

Author K.P. NAYAR

Publisher The Telegraph. calcutta India


URL http://www.telegraphindia.com/1071218/jsp/frontpage/story_8682190.jsp

Washington, Dec. 17 2007 : The bodies of the two Indian students murdered on the
Louisiana State University (LSU) campus last week are expected to be repatriated to
Hyderabad on Tuesday or Wednesday, notwithstanding a complete lack of support in the
case by the incoming state administration headed by Indian-American Bobby Jindal.

Three-and-a- half days after the bodies of Komma Chandrasekhar Reddy and Allam
Kiran Kumar were discovered in Reddy's campus apartment, till the time of writing,
Jindal has not issued a statement condoling the deaths or nudging investigators into
action to solve the case.

This is despite the fact that Jindal campaigned against crime as the number one issue for
his election as governor in October and devotes several pages of his transition site to this
problem in Louisiana.

LSU officials privately express disappointment that the incoming governor has not
telephoned the university's chancellor or any other official to express support for the
institution at a time when it is receiving bad publicity in the US and abroad.

For many officials, this is particularly galling because until now they considered Jindal as
one of them after he served as president of the University of Louisiana System for two
years from 1999, overseeing the education of 80,000 students a year.

Besides, the incoming governor's transition offices are within sight of the Edward Gay
Apartments, where Reddy and Kiran were murdered.

Jindal's indifference to the crime in his virtual backyard is in line with his policy, ever
since he entered public life, of deliberately distancing himself from India and Indian
American issues.

Right from the very first reception by Indian Americans in his honour on Capitol Hill
after he was elected as a US Congressman in 2004, Jindal has made it clear that he
considers his brown complexion merely as an accident of his birth. Jindal's attitude,
Indian Americans here recall, is in marked contrast to the attitude of another US state
governor, Virginia's Tim Kaine.

In April this year, after a shooting on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Kaine cut
short a trip to Japan, cancelled an imminent visit to India and declared a "state of
emergency", enabling him to immediately deploy state personnel, equipment and other
resources for investigations.
Jindal, though he is still governor-elect, could have called for at least a fraction of similar
action because crime is a problem that is eating into the innards of Louisiana's social life.

Although 32 students were killed in Virginia, Kaine, unlike Jindal, took great care to be
solicitous about the victims of Indian origin at Virginia Tech and their families.

When relatives of murdered and injured Indians arrived in Washington from abroad,
Kaine spurned offers from the Indian embassy here to transport them by limousine to
Blacksburg.

Instead, he sent a plane to take them to Virginia Tech and housed several of them during
their traumatic days through the autopsies and funerals.

It is not as if Jindal has been sleeping at the wheel in the three days after Reddy and
Kiran were killed.

During the weekend, Jindal announced that he had collected nearly $1.4 million from 236
individual and corporate donors for celebrations planned around his swearing in as
governor on January 14.

Yesterday, his transition team announced an inaugural ball to celebrate the swearing-in. It
will be preceded by a luncheon for state legislators, an inaugural family festival in the
afternoon and a prayer service, the governor-elect' s spokesperson Melissa Sellers was
quoted in the Louisiana media as saying.

Unlike Jindal, LSU authorities, after their initial insensitivity in announcing that the
campus murders had provided an "opportunity" for the university to test its new
emergency text-message system, have been extremely helpful and sympathetic, according
to Indian students on the campus.

Meanwhile, Indian officials Alok Pandey and K.P. Pillai helped speed up the procedures
associated with autopsy and embalming of the dead bodies, which normally take much
longer in murder cases here.

The two officials have been asked to stay put in Baton Rouge and be available round the
clock to relatives of the crime victims and other Indian students.

Comments by P. Subramani December 30, 2007

"Jindal's indifference to the crime in his virtual backyard is in line with his policy, ever
since he entered public life, of deliberately distancing himself from India and Indian
American issues.
Right from the very first reception by Indian Americans in his honour on Capitol Hill
after he was elected as a US Congressman in 2004, Jindal has made it clear that he
considers his brown complexion merely as an accident of his birth. Jindal's attitude,
Indian Americans here recall, is in marked contrast to the attitude of another US state
governor, Virginia's Tim Kaine.

Note: Right wing Bobby, Reaction are not surprising. Once converted Indian Christians
hate their Indian roots, religion and culture. As Swami Vivekananda said, if a Hindu
converts -- it is a double loss for Hindus. 1. We lose one numerically. 2. We gain one
enemy who hates his former religion.

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