MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - AshaKiran, a local community organization that works to promote harmony between different cultures, issued a statement Thursday on the recent incident involving Madison Police and an unarmed Indian man.
"AshaKiran is saddened to hear about the recent unfortunate event that occurred last week in Madison concerning a 57-year-old Indian citizen simply walking on the sidewalk in the neighborhood where his son lived and, when police were called to investigate a suspicious individual, resulted with the hospitalization and temporary paralysis of this Indian citizen.
AshaKiran has received many calls from concerned citizens and anger over this incident is understandable. However, as a community in a global world, we want to make sure that we are concentrating on taking positive steps forward that we, at AshaKiran, know is possible through constructive dialogue and the awareness of the many cultural nuances found right here in our community.
Our goal is to help prevent situations like these from occurring altogether through education, empathy and empowerment. In fact, long before last weeks’ incident, AshaKiran and Madison police had already begun ongoing discussions regarding efforts to further educate first responders with identifying ways they can better respond to foreign-born citizens with any possible “communication barriers” as described by Madison police in their statement released on Monday. This open exchange resulted with culturally sensitive training workshops scheduled to occur at the end of February.
We are very grateful for all of the concerned calls and look forward to assisting in every possible way, sharing any new updates and a strong focus on strengthening the relationships within our community while this incident is currently under investigation. AshaKiran wishes the speedy recovery for Mr. Patel."
Bhavani Kakani founded AshaKiran after moving to the US decades ago from India. She understands the difficulty language barriers create. Kakani is asking for peace and calm as the fallout from the incident spreads across the country and the globe.
AshaKiran confirms February 25th was a day set aside to do cultural understanding training with members of the Madison Police Department, a decision made weeks before the situation last week with Mr. Patel.
You can find more information at Ashakiranonline.org.