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Ishika Kumar, Pune

In the wake of the accident of a young Telugu girl, Jaahnavi Kandula, in the United States, Telangana’s Information Technology (IT) Minister, K. T. Rama Rao, has reached out to the U.S. Ambassador Eric Garcetti and India’s External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar, urging them to investigate the unfortunate road accident that led to her demise.

On 23 January, a US Seattle Police Officer struck and killed Jaahnavi Kandula, 23, in a crosswalk. In a recording released by the police department on Monday, the officer can be heard saying “she is dead” before bursting out into laughter. He proceeded with, “No, it’s a regular person.” Toward the end of the video, he can be heard laughing and saying, “Yeah, just write a check. Eleven thousand dollars. She was 26 anyway,” inaccurately stating the age of the victim. He further added, “She had limited value,” New York Post reported as quoted by ANI.

Jaahnavi had gone to the USA to pursue her higher education in 2021 and she was pursuing a Master’s degree in Information Systems at the Seattle campus of Northeastern University.

KTR has voiced his dismay on the deeply disturbing and insensitive remarks made by the officer who callously mocked the tragic passing of the Indian Telugu student, Jaahnavi Kandula. Expressing profound distress and sorrow, he took to Twitter on Thursday to condemn the insensitive and reprehensible comments made by American police officers regarding the incident. 

On his Twitter account, KTR conveyed, “I kindly urge the U.S. Ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti, to address this issue with U.S. government officials and ensure that justice is served for the grieving family of the young Jaahnavi Kandula.” He called upon Ambassador Eric Garcetti and Minister S. Jaishankar to engage with U.S. government authorities and ensure justice for the bereaved family of Jaahnavi Kandula. 

Furthermore, the Minister implored India’s External Affairs Minister to liaise with his American counterpart and demand an impartial inquiry into the matter. The incident was compounded by the shocking conversations held by the Seattle police officers at the scene, which were captured by body-worn cameras and subsequently circulated widely on social media.