A week after Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla was shot and killed in a Kansas bar, United States President Donald Trump has spoken up about the hate crime, saying that the country "condemned hate in all its ugly forms".
"We are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms, whether the threats targeting Jewish centers or the Kansas shooting," Trump was quoted as saying.
Trump was delivering his highly-anticipated maiden speech to the Congress at the Capitol Hill in Washington.
Trump's statement comes just a day after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer had said the incident was â€śdisturbing."
"No one in America should feel afraid to follow the religion of their choosing freely and openly. The president has dedicated to preserving this originating principle of our nation," Spicer said.
"And while we're at it, I don't want to get ahead of law enforcement, but I was asked the other day about the story in Kansas, the shooting in Kansas. And while the story is evolving, early reports out of Kansas are equally disturbing," he said.
In fact, former US Secretary of State and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has asked President Donald Trump to "step up and speak out" on rising hate crimes in the US, in the wake of Srinivas' murder.
"With threats & hate crimes on rise, we shouldn't have to tell @POTUS to do his part. He must step up & speak out," Clinton tweeted.
Meanwhile, Deputy White House Press Sarah Sanders said that the Kansas shooting was a result of â€śracially motivated hatred.â€ť
"They have no place in the country,â€ť Sanders was quoted as saying.
Kuchibhotla, (32), was shot dead by a US Navy veteran, Adam Purinton, (51), in an apparent hate crime.
Purinton shot dead Kuchibhotla while his friend Alok Madasani was injured at a pub in Kansas.
Purinton made his first court appearance in the case that is being investigated as a possible hate crime.
Eyewitnesses said that Purinton had shouted "get out of my country", at the two Indians, before opening fire.
Purinton appeared before a Johnson County District Court judge via video conference on Monday. He faces one charge of first-degree murder and two charges of attempted first-degree murder in last Wednesday's shooting at the bar in Olathe, Kansas.
Meanwhile, the body of Kuchibhotla was flown to India and cremated on Tuesday in Hyderabad with grieving relatives, friends and neighbours gathering for the last rites.
We are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms. #JointAddressâ€” President Trump (@POTUS) March 1, 2017
I am here tonight to deliver a message of unity and strength, and it is a message deeply delivered from my heart. #JointAddressâ€” President Trump (@POTUS) March 1, 2017