In a shocking incident, a 24-year-old Indian student, identified as Varun Raj, is battling for his life after being brutally stabbed in the head by a stranger at a local fitness center in Valparaiso City, Indiana, over the weekend. The alleged assailant, Jordan Andrade, 24, has been taken into custody and now faces charges of attempted murder and aggravated battery.
The incident, which occurred at a public gym, has left Varun in critical condition, with a severe brainstem injury. He has been moved to Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne, where doctors have reportedly given him a slim chance of survival, estimated at zero to 5%. Varun Raj hails from Khammam town in the Indian state of Telangana and was pursuing a degree in Computer Science in the United States.
The Bizarre Explanation By Attacker
The accused, Jordan Andrade, has offered a perplexing explanation for his violent act. Andrade claimed to have never met Varun before the attack and alleged that he believed Varun posed a threat to him.
According to Andrade, he encountered Varun in the gym’s massage room, describing him as “a little weird.” He further mentioned that an unspecified source had informed him that Varun was a potential threat, although he did not specify who this source was.
Andrade stated that he chose to react “the right way” to defend himself, producing a knife he typically used for opening boxes at work and stabbing Varun in the temple. It has been reported that Varun did not initiate any contact with Andrade and attempted to push him away after being stabbed.
Andrade, who claimed to be a former high school football player with significant physical strength, maintained that he acted in self-defense, describing himself as a “defensive fighter” and asserting that he had “taken him out” using the knife.
Family Seeks Support:
Varun Raj’s father, Ramamurthy, expressed his shock at learning about the brutal attack on his son as he was returning home from the gym.
Varun was pursuing his Master of Science (MS) degree and had also taken up a part-time job. In his quest to provide the best medical treatment for his son, Ramamurthy, who works as a teacher in Mahabubabad district, sought help from the government.
In response to the family’s plea for assistance, State Minister for NRI Affairs K.T. Rama Rao assured that the government would do its utmost to support Varun, with the help of the Indian embassy and Telangana’s NRI community.
Here is Varun Raj’s Go Fund Me Campaign: https://www.gofundme.com/f/varun-pucha-medical-financial-assistance?
Hate Crimes Against South Asians:
This incident comes in the context of rising concerns over hate crimes against South Asians in the United States. Recent statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) indicate a significant drop in anti-Asian hate crimes from 753 in 2021, largely driven by Covid-related bias incidents, to 499 in 2022. While South Asians fall under the broader “Asian” category in this data, there has been a troubling increase in anti-Hindu hate crimes, doubling from 12 to 25 incidents. Despite facing fewer hate crimes compared to other communities, Hindus are ranked at 31 out of 36 communities tracked by the FBI, emphasizing the importance of addressing this issue without spreading fear or misinformation.