Sketches of the suspects
Washington, Dec. 18: Even as the task force investigating the murder of two Indian students at Louisiana State University released sketch profiles of two men wanted for questioning, the states governor-elect, Indian American Bobby Jindal, reluctantly commented on the murders four days after the crime in his virtual backyard.
At the same time, overwhelmed by the attention in India on the murders and the plight of Indians at the university, Indian gurus are travelling to Baton Rouge to offer solace to LSU students who are generally considered to be at the mercy of Louisianas modern-day highwaymen.
Baton Rouge police spokesman Don Kelly, who released the sketches, said one of the men may have been the driver of a light-coloured Oldsmobile Alero in which the murderers of Komma Chandrasekhar Reddy and Allam Kiran Kumar escaped after the two students were shot at point-blank range last Thursday.
Kelly said the driver was an African American in his 20s with his hair twisted in rows. He was wearing a white, hooded sweatshirt on the day Reddy and Kiran were murdered.
The second man, also black, is balding but the police are less specific about his age. Kelly said he may be in his 20s or 30s, perhaps older.
He is between 58 and 510, muscular and was wearing a white, long-sleeve shirt with a high collar and dark jeans when he was spotted leaving the universitys Edward Gay Apartments where Kiran lived.
The suspects were observed on the complex property as early as 9pm on the night of December 13th, and may have been in the general area or on property even earlier, an LSU media release said.
It warned any students who may spot the suspects not to approach them as they may be armed, but to contact the police immediately.
Considering that much of the post-hurricane Katrina crime wave in Louisiana has remained unresolved, the speedy release of suspect profiles in the murders of Reddy and Kiran is a tribute to the perseverance of two Indian officials who are in Baton Rouge badgering everyone involved the case on the need to bring the killers to justice.
Alok Pandey, deputy head of the consular section of the Indian embassy in Washington, said at a news conference his first priority was to assist the families of Reddy and Kiran, who are in Louisiana and help repatriate the bodies.
K.P. Pillai, consul at the Indian consulate-general in Houston, pointed out to Americans that the LSU murders had shaken India and that about 80,000 Indians study at US universities.
Implicit in that remark was a threat that a key source of Americas foreign income could be affected if the LSU murders were mishandled.
Jindal yesterday made his first comment on the killings. But his mealy-mouthed statement was not spontaneous and had to be virtually extracted by the local media, whose members were aghast at the silence of the governor-elect.
I know the police are continuing their investigation to ensure that whoever committed these horrible crimes is swiftly brought to justice, Jindal said.
He, however, stuck to his policy of keeping himself at arms length from Indian issues when he declined to tell local reporters whether he had reached out to Indian students at LSU.
Indian guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar will arrive in Baton Rouge later today to hold a free workshop on stress and trauma relief for LSU students. The founder of the Art of Living courses will lead the ritual of Sudarshan Kriya from Wednesday to Saturday. Separately, LSU authorities are offering counselling to students.