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'It is no more safe living in America'

Last updated on: April 21, 2012 14:13 IST

'It is no more safe living in America'

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Ritu Jha in San Fransisco Bay Area

Garbed in black T-shirt bearing his photo in front, more than a dozen friends of Rahul Sharma gathered at the funeral service on Friday, April 20 at the Fremont Chapel of the Roses and Fremont Memorial Chapel in the San Francisco Bay Area in California, US.

 

Rahul, 20, was shot in the head and killed in Fremont's Centerville neighbourhood on April 5.

Police found Sharma lying in a driveway of an apartment complex at 11pm in the 4200 block of Central Avenue. The motive behind his killing is not yet clear and the police have released a sketch of a suspect in the homicide.

 

"We got this printed specially for him," said a group of friends sobbing at the funeral service.

"We were very close friends," a girl, who did not want to be identified, told rediff.com, adding that Rahul was a nice person and a good friend.

 

"I cannot take this anymore. I still do not believe that he is no more," said another friend of Rahul and his classmate at the Fremont Adult and Continuing Education programme, where the 20-year-old was studying.

Even though Rahul was not a student of Washington High School in Fremont, he was a frequent visitor and had many friends there.

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Image: Rahul's father Prannath (in white shirt) at the funeral service
Photographs: Ritu Jha

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Rahul used to say, 'stay away from gangs in Fremont'

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"He used to come and spent some time with us," Sajjad Muhammad of Washington High told rediff.com.

Sajjad, who immigrated to the US two years ago from Pakistan, added that Rahul used to say, 'stay away from gangs in Fremont, and just concentrate on your studies'. 

Also seen praying with the family were people from Jehovah's Witnesses, who helped organise the funeral service for Rahul and be part of the grieving family.

"The US embassy in New Delhi did not allow Rahul's grandmother to come to attend his funeral," said Rahul's father Prannath after the funeral service.

"She is 72-year-old. They did not see the reason of her coming to the US. The consular did not give a look to the papers," Parnnath alleged, adding, "My brother and mother pleaded but they did not listen to them. We sent them all the required papers and sponsorship, and paid proper fees of Rs 8,000 as required by the consulate."

"They were just rude," lamented Prannath. They (brother of Prannath) even showed the published news articles and said they are not lying.

But the consular without giving any reason just said, 'you cannot go.'

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Image: Friends mourning at the funeral service
Photographs: Ritu Jha

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'Rahul was raised by his grandmother. Now she will never be able to see him'

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"Rahul was raised by his grandmother. She loved him a lot. I waited this long for his funeral, thought she might come. Now she will never be able to see him," said the grieving father.

Shattered after losing his young son, Prannath said: "It's no more safe living in America. I lost my son, due to the increased crime in Fremont." 

If they cannot control the crime, why they (US) show the world this is the 'land of opportunity' asked Prannath, who came to the US seven years ago from Jalandhar.

Meanwhile Sgt Jeff Swadener of the Fremont told rediff.com that the police department had interviewed over 25-30 people.

"We are checking the neighbourhood and the surrounding business," Sgt.Swadener said, adding, "We do not want to rush." 

He said it is not clear though who killed Rahul, but according to witnesses interviewed, it could be light skin African or Hispanic male.


Image: Prannath holding his 15-month-old son
Photographs: Ritu Jha

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