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Hindu Guru Vicki Bava calls for Indian Government to Step In and Use Diplomatic Channels to have Indian American Businessman Nikesh Patel Released


Racial Discrimination in Sentencing of Patel Reveals Uncounted Disparities of Indian and Asian Americans in United States Legal System

NEW DELHI, Jan. 12, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The sentencing of an Indian American Businessman Nikesh Patel, which was ten times greater in comparison with his white co-defendant, Timothy Fisher highlights an unstudied disparity in racial prejudice in the legal system regarding Indian and Asian Americans, especially at a time when racial discrimination of Asians is being noticed and documented more across additional sectors.

One of India's leading Gurus of modern Hinduism, Jagadguru Shree Vallabhacharyaji, also known as Vicki Bava, (Guru Bava) and Chief Minister Yogi Adiyanath attend rally.

Patel, an Indian American and father of four, is currently serving time on a white collar sentence where he received a much harsher punishment than his co-defendant who was already released from prison on compassionate release in 2021, due to his asthma. Patel also suffers from asthma but received no consideration even though, in the government’s own words, they were “more or less equal.” Patel just surpassed his five-year anniversary of incarceration.

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Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. publicly called on the U.S. Attorney in Chicago, John Lausch, urging an investigation in the United States legal system and Hindu leader Guru Vicki Bava in India also called for Indian Government officials to step in. An online poll of 377 random Indians surveyed found that 90 percent believe the Indian government should step in and use diplomatic channels to have Patel released. Patel’s parents immigrated to the United States, and the family depends on their father, who was otherwise an upstanding member of the community. Patel’s case shows that the racial disparity upstands even with financial resources.

The Washington Post reported in June of 2021 “1 in 2 Indian Americans experienced recent discrimination, often on the basis of skin color” based on a YouGov’s online panel. The article in the Washington Post indicates that while Indian Americans enjoy a higher level of professional and financial success, it has not inoculated them from the forces of discrimination. The Patel case is demonstrative of this study.

While data exists on Black and Latino sentencing, which tends to be more common, there is less research and data on Indian American sentencing—as they are typically considered the model minority.

Yet, research from the Urban Institute finds criminal justice data on Asian Americans is often missing or incomplete because “a quarter of state agencies do not include ‘Asian’ as its own race category, and because the overwhelming majority of incarcerated people are housed in state prisons.”

The overall designation of Asian is not inclusive of additional sociological elements within that race—including country of origin, skin color, and immigration status. The lack of data is appalling as headlines of Asian discrimination have been increasing especially during COVID-19 epidemic. While Patel is a U.S. citizen, recent data shows that Asian defendants with illegal status also have even higher odds of incarceration than U.S. citizens.

A recent study by Texas A&M University finds racial and ethnic discrimination is a regular occurrence for many of the more than 3.5 million South Asians living in the United States, and that the disparities start at a young age.

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