Behind The Headlines: How Eight Indian Students Died In US In 2024

The recent death of Satya Sai Gadde in Cleveland, Ohio has once again placed the spotlight on the issue of safety and security of Indian students in the US. On Friday, the Indian Consulate in New York announced Gadde’s death. It said that a police investigation is underway and the Indian mission continues to remain in touch with the family.

“All possible assistance is being extended, including to transport Mr. Uma Gadde’s mortal remains to India at the earliest,” the Indian mission said. This comes in the wake of similar cases, involving Indian nationals or students of Indian origin, that have surfaced in the first three months of 2024.

Read More‘Deeply Saddened’: Another Student Dies In US, Indian Mission Says Probe Underway

Concerns about Indian students are being raised as a record number of Indian students travelled to the United States to pursue higher education. Underlining the alarming rise of such incidents, the US-based Global Hindu Heritage Foundation (GHHF) has moved a petition seeking an independent FBI investigation into the deaths.

“There is a whopping sevenfold increase in reports of anti-Asian harassment, discrimination, and violence. It is crucial to note that hate crimes and bias incidents have been found to be vastly under-reported so these numbers only reflect reported incidents,” the advocacy group said.

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

Here is the list of Indian/Indian-origin students who died in 2024 alone: 

1 – Amarnath Ghosh

Amarnath Ghosh, a professional Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi dancer from Kolkata, was shot dead in the state of Mississippi. Ghosh was pursuing a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in dance at Washington University in Saint Louis. On March 1, Ghosh’s actor-friend Devoleena Bhattacharjee first alerted the authorities on social media about his death.

“Hope we get the update of this heinous crime as early as possible. If I am not wrong this is 5th or 6th murder of Indian Students in 2 months. We all are worried here & griefing,” Bhattacharjee said in a post on X. “The loss of Amarnath has left us all devastated, and his absence is deeply felt within our Kuchipudi group,” the GoFundMe page set up for him said.

2 – Sameer Kamath

An Indian-origin student named Sameer Kamath was found dead at a nature reserve in the US this week, marking the fifth such incident this year. However, the cause of Kamath’s death remains unclear at the moment.

He was found at Crow’s Grove Nature Preserve at 3300 North Warren County Road 50 West, in Williamsport. Kamath, a doctoral candidate at Purdue University in Indiana, held US citizenship and had completed his master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering in August last year.

3 – Shreyas Reddy

Another Indian student Shreyas Reddy Benigeri was found dead in the state of Ohio’s Cincinnati in February. Earlier reports said the cause of Benigeri’s death remains unknown.

In an earlier post, the Consulate General of India in New York said the probe into Benigeri’s death is underway and at this stage, no foul play is suspected. According to a LinkedIn account, which is believed to be of Benigeri, he was pursuing a graduate degree in Business Statistics from Lindner School of Business, University of Cincinnati.

4 – Vivek Saini

Vivek Saini, a 25-year-old Indian student, was bludgeoned to death in January by a homeless man, who was arrested at the scene.

The homeless drug addict smashed Saini’s face and head with a hammer after Saini refused to give him any more shelter and food after providing him amenities for several days.

The incident happened at a convenience store in the US state of Georgia’s Lithonia where Saini used to work part-time. He had recently completed his MBA in the US.

5 – Neel Acharya

Neel Acharya, another Indian student, who was pursuing computer science at Purdue University, was found dead on the university campus one day after he was missing. What led to his death remains unclear and police officials in West Lafayette in the US state of Indiana have launched a probe.

He was a double major in computer science and data science at the John Martinson Honors College. His roommate and friend Aryan Khanolkar, said he was a “loving, charismatic soul, and will be cherished by all of us”.

6 – Akul Dhawan

Akul Dhawan, an 18-year-old Indian-American student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the US, passed away in January after going missing for several hours.

He reportedly died of hypothermia following “acute alcohol intoxication and prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures, which significantly contributed to his death”, according to a statement released by the Champaign County Coroner’s Office in Illinois.

7 and 8 – G Dinesh, Nikesh

Two Indian students were found dead at their residence in the US state of Connecticut, media reports said in January. The two roommates found dead in the city of Hartford were identified as Gattu Dinesh from Wanaparthy, Telangana, and Nikesh from Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh.

The students, both in their 20s, were found unresponsive by local friends visiting their residence. They were pursuing master’s degrees in computer science at the University of Sacred Heart. The suspected cause of death is a gas leak.

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