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Humanitarian visa sought for attacked Indian's wife

Washington, Feb 19 (IANS) A noted Indian-American lawyer has sent a letter to US Secretary of State John Kerry to issue a humanitarian visa to the wife of an Indian grandfather assaulted by an Alabama policeman.

New York based lawyer Ravi Batra has sent another letter Air India’s Regional Manager to fly in free the wife of Sureshbhai Patel, 57, who was slammed to the ground Feb 6 while out on a walk outside his son’s house in Madison, Alabama. Patel, who was left partially paralysed by the encounter was transferred to a rehabilitation facility Monday, but according to Patel family’s attorney Hank Sherrod, “He has a long, difficult and uncertain rehabilitation process ahead of him.”

Batra, who is also chair of the National Advisory Council on South Asian Affairs, told Kerry that he was writing to him as “an Indian-American, proud of my roots, and as a citizen who adores and cherishes what makes America special: our hallowed Constitution and Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence.”

Grant of “a humanitarian visa for Shakuntala Patel, wife of Sureshbhai, consistent with the highest standards of compassion America stands for, subject to all laws, rules and regulations,” he wrote “will go a long way in being an ointment to many a hurt soul.”

The Justice Department’s “initiation of a parallel federal civil rights investigation ab initio is a rare gift to Indian-Americans and India, even as it seeks to reconcile two abiding principles: Cops are, and must remain, role models in society and Citizens have civil rights,” Batra wrote.

In a separate letter, he requested Air India, India’s national carrier, to provide Mrs. Patel with respectful passage, addressing all necessary protocols.

Recalling “the great work Air India has always done to enhance bilateral relations between the United States and India,” Batra wrote, “Your making it happen, with India’s necessary approval, will be highly valued.

“It will help to remove an un-necessary and un-expected irritant in an otherwise enhanced bilateral relationship – given President (Barack) Obama’s recent attendance of India’s Republic Day – a relationship that will define the 21st Century for all nations and people,’ he wrote.

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