Indian American tech executives Satya Nadella and Sundar Pichai, CEOs of tech giants Microsoft and Google, respectively, are among leaders around the world who have decried the New York terror attack, describing the incident as a "horrific act of violence" which claimed eight lives.
A 29-year-old Uzbek man, allegedly inspired by the ISIS and shouting “God is great” in Arabic, Oct. 31 ploughed a pickup truck down a crowded bike-only path in lower Manhattan, in the deadliest terrorist attack in the New York City since Sept. 11, 2001.
At least eight people were killed and 11 others injured in the attack, while the suspect was arrested.
"Our hearts and thoughts are with the victims, their loved ones, and all those in New York City impacted by this horrific act of violence," Nadella, 50, tweeted.
"So sad to see the senseless loss of lives in NYC, thoughts and prayers with everyone affected there. Gratitude to NYPD, FDNY and first responders there #NYCStrong," Pichai posted on Twitter.
India's Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi also strongly condemned the terror attack.
"Strongly condemn the terror attack in New York in which 8 people were killed and several injured... perpetrators and those who support and shelter them should be punished for this crime against humanity," Naidu said in a series of tweets.
The prime minister said his thoughts are with the families of the deceased.
"Strongly condemn the terror attack in New York City. My thoughts are with the families of the deceased & prayers with those injured," Modi tweeted.
The leader of India's main opposition Congress party, Sonia Gandhi, Oct. 21 strongly condemned the terror attack and called for a sustained global effort to combat terrorism.
Terming it as an unacceptable act of "brutal" terror against innocent citizens, she said, "Our heart goes out to the families of those who have lost their family members."
Gandhi, 70, said India wages a battle against the menace of terrorism every day and has made innumerable sacrifices in this battle, and called for a global effort to combat terror.
"The New York attack is once again a stark reminder that the international community should work towards a concerted and sustained fight against the global network of terror," she said in a statement.
Meanwhile, in the wake of the terror attack, President Donald Trump, denouncing the suspect as an “animal,” Nov. 1 urged tougher immigration measures based on skills and other merit rather than a lottery after the deadly truck attack in New York City.
Trump noted during a Cabinet meeting that the driver in the Oct. 31 attack entered the country through the “Diversity Visa Lottery Program” and called on Congress to “immediately” begin working to eliminate the program, which applies to countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S.
Trump added, “We have to get much tougher, much smarter and less politically correct.”
Earlier Nov. 1, Trump called the visa program “a Chuck Schumer beauty” — a reference to the Senate's Democratic leader from New York. Schumer fired back from the Senate floor, accusing Trump of “politicizing” the tragedy.
Officials said the attacker, an immigrant from Uzbekistan, entered the United States legally under the diversity visa program in 2010, according to DHS.
Trump has backed legislation that would curb legal immigration and shift the nation toward a system that would place an emphasis on merit and skills over family ties.
The comments followed Trump's Oct. 31 statement that he had ordered DHS “to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program.” Trump's policy entails more stringent investigative measures intended to identify would-be immigrants who may sympathize with extremists or pose a national security risk to the United States.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump proposed a total ban on Muslim immigration to the U.S. before embracing “extreme vetting.” Trump's efforts to block immigrants from several Muslim-majority countries have been tied up in federal courts.
The diversity visa program provides up to 50,000 visas annually by lottery.
Speaking on the Senate floor Nov. 1, Schumer said he has “always believed that immigration is good for America.”
India-West adds: Vanita Gupta, Indian American president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said in a statement: “As New Yorkers and the country mourns yesterday’s terrible tragedy, President Trump continues to show his true colors through his response. By calling for an end to the Diversity Visa Program, Trump demonstrates that he is, yet again, willing to exploit horrific events to advance his political agenda. We should not sow hate, discrimination, and xenophobia toward those who come here – especially after the extensive vetting under this program – in search of better opportunities.
“The civil and human rights coalition will not allow our nation to be divided, especially in times of a national tragedy. We will stand together against the actions of this administration as it advances xenophobic policies. And we call on Congress to stand up for the Diversity Visa Program. America must remain a beacon of hope for those who seek a better future.”
(With AP and PTI reports)