Indian-origin student freezes to death after being denied entry to US club |

NEW DELHI: A teenage Indian-origin student at Illinois University froze to death near a club that denied him entry. Akul Dhawan, 18, was on a night out with his friends, according to a report by the Champaign County Coroner’s Office in Illinois, a month after the incident. The Indian-American student died of hypothermia following ‘acute alcohol intoxication and prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures, which significantly contributed to his death.’
Akul’s parents had filed a complaint with the University of Illinois Police and questioned the police about the protocol they followed during the search.Akul’s parents alleged that cops carried out no search near the Busey-Evans Residence Hall and University police failed to follow their missing search protocols. The parents have accused the University of Illinois Police of being negligent.
In an open letter released in The News Gazette, Akul Dhawan’s parents had said, “As parents, we need answers. We have filed an official complaint with the UI police. We have the following questions for the university officials and police: The police say that they searched around the Busey-Evans Residence Hall at 2:09 a.m.”
Earlier on January 31, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in a press release said that the University of Illinois Police continue to probe the circumstances surrounding the January 20 death of Akul Dhawan, a student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. It said that the information collected so far supports the initial belief that the death was accidental, and no foul play occurred. It said that Dhawan was found deceased at about 11: 08 am (local time) on January 20 in the 1200 block of West Nevada Street, Urbana.
According to the press release, a friend who lost contact with Dhawan called the police at 1:23 am (local time). According to the statement, investigators have shared a timeline of the police response to that call.
A series of tragic deaths among Indian students at US colleges has sparked widespread concern, highlighting broader issues of mental health and campus safety for international students.
In 2024, seven young men of Indian and Indian American descent have met untimely deaths under various circumstances, ranging from suspected suicides and overdoses to violent acts. Last week White House official John Kirby condemned attacks on Indian students and asserted there is “no excuse for violence based on race, gender, or any other factor”.
“The president and this administration have been working very, very hard to make sure we’re doing everything we can to work with state and local authorities to try to thwart and disrupt those kinds of attacks and make it clear to anybody who might consider them that they’ll be held properly accountable,” Kirby said amid a slew of attacks on Indian and Indian American students in various parts of the United States.
Also, Eric Garcetti, the US Ambassador to India, said that the Biden-led administration is “very committed” to assuring Indians that the US is a “wonderful and safe” place to pursue higher studies.
The Indian government and the mission in the US offered support and counselling to the distressed students and their relatives.

(With ANI inputs)


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