A STUDENT from Jharkhand doing research in an engineering college in the US was found shot dead at an apartment complex in the second incident of gun violence against Indian students in five weeks in that country .
The body of Abhijeet Mahato (29), who was doing his PhD in computational mechanics at the Dukes Pratt School of Engineering in Durham, North Carolina, was found by his friends on Friday, his grandfather Dhananjoy Mahato said on Sunday .
The body was noticed around 11.30 pm local time on Friday in the 1600 block of Anderson Street, several blocks south of the Duke campus. Durham police was quoted as saying that they do not yet know the motive.
Dhananjoy, a former MLA, said he would ask the government to make arrangements for bringing home the body after post-mortem on Monday .
In an earlier case On December 13, two Indian doctoral students from Andhra Pradesh were found shot dead in Louisiana State University campus at Baton Rouge.
Third in a month, Indian PhD student killed on US campus Chidanand Rajghatta | TNN Washington:
Yet another Indian doctoral student has been shot dead — the third in a month — on a US university campus, raising questions about the safety of the American academic environment.
The bullet-riddled body of 29-year-old Abhijit Mahato was found inside his Anderson Street apartment in North Carolina’s Duke University on Friday, nearly a month to the day after two other Indian PhD students were killed execution-style at Louisiana State University.
Police are still investigating the cause and motive for Mahato’s killing, even as the December 17 LSU murders are yet to be solved.
Mahato, originally from Tatanagar in India, was studying for an engineering doctorate degree focused on computational mechanics at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering, university officials said. He was in his second year.
Earlier, he had earned his mechanical engineering degree from Jadavpur University in 2001 and an MTech from IITKanpur in 2004. Before coming to Duke, Mahato worked for two years for the GE Global Research Center in Bangalore, where he focused on finite element analysis, a computer-simulation technique used in engineering. The experience prepared him for his graduate work, according to Mahato’s adviser, professor Tod Laursen.
‘‘We were working together on an industry-funded research project and Abhijit’s prior industry experience helped him develop close working relationships with our partner,’’ Laursen said. ‘‘He understood their needs as a business and was a pleasure to work with.’’
Even as the incident sent shock waves among the huge Indian student community in the US, the biggest from any foreign country, Duke officials tried to reassure the students.
‘‘This is a tragic circumstance, and we are doing everything possible to assist those who may be affected by it,’’ Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs, said in a statement issued by the university.
Some 80,000 students come to the US each year for studies and the total Indian student population in the US is said to be over 250,000 at any given time.
Duke is one of the biggest campuses in the US with a racially and ethnically diverse student population (from 117 countries). The university’s Pratt School of Engineering is particularly popular among Indian students.
Fond of ‘adda’, he was popular TIMES NEWS NETWORK
Humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them…. I am one of them and I don’t repent my choices” That’s what Abhijit Mahato has to say about himself on a social networking site.
The 29-year-old, who had joined the social networking site looking for friends, has a number of photographs of himself on the album: showing him enjoying a hearty meal at a restaurant, dressed in a traditional kurta with friends. There’s always a smile on his face. Now only memories of that smile remain. Abhijit was found shot dead in his apartment at Durham in North Carolina. He was pursuing a PhD at Duke University.
His “testimonials” from friends describe Abhijit as affable and helpful. “A person who is good at heart and always ready to help friends in need,” says a friend.
“One would be really blessed to have him as a friend for all of his qualities makes him a real human, with humanitarian values and morals,” says another. Others remember him as someone fond of “adda” and with a vast network of friends. He also had a quirky sense of humour. This is how he described his job — “making sense out of nonsense”.
His list of favourite movies names Satyajit Ray classics like Agantuk and Goopi Gyne Bagha Byne as well as Raging Bull and Hotel Rwanda. His profile mentions that he loves Chinese, but most of all food cooked by his mother at home.
The last few scraps (notes) in his scrapbook are a pointer to how popular he was. As news of the death spread, friends started writing in, their messages fervent pleas wishing him the best and hoping that the terrible news they had heard was not true. Later, the refrain becomes a common “may your soul rest in peace”.
Dec 13, 2007: Louisiana State University Chandrasekhar Reddy Komma (31) and Kiran Kumar Allam (33), two PhD students from Hyderabad, were found murdered at the latter’s apartment on the university campus. Police could not dig out a clear motive.
May 7, 2007: Texas A&M University, Kingsville Bodies of Pravesh Kumar and Vijay Mahadvan were found in a swimming pool in an apartment building in Kingsville, Texas. Both were graduate students of the university. Police said it was an accident, but suspicions linger.
April 16, 2007: Virginia Tech University
First-year architecture student Minal Panchal and Professor G V Loganathan were among the 32 gunned down by Korean student Seung Hui-cho in the worst campus massacre in US history.
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