By Mithu Das April 08, 2017
Recently, the arrest of an Indian-American teenager, Arnav Uppalapati, 17, who has been accused of killing his biological mother a year ago has shocked the Indian community in America. Town of Carry Police, North Carolina, have been investigating the unsolved murder since 2015.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time a murder has been committed by an Indian- American. In 2016, at least two cases of murder-suicide and one case of shooting have been reported. Similarly, one murder case was recorded in 2014 and one in 2012. The worst of them all is probably the 2003 Case Western Reserve University shooting, at which a 62-year-old man, Biswanath Halder, who had been holding the SWAT team on a gun battle for seven hours, creating panic among students and faculty members. However, before that year no murder case had been recorded for a long time. The case of Prosenjit Poddar, a Berkeley student, who was convicted of killing Tatiana Tarasoff, took place in 1969.
Prosenjit Poddar was a brilliant student who came to UC Berkeley in 1967 after getting a scholarship. There he met Tatiana Tarasoff, a beautiful girl, with whom he fell in love and, eventually they dated. He was madly in love with her and wanted to marry her. But Tatiana, after knowing his feelings, sternly told him that she had her other friends and she was not interested in intimate relationship. Tatiana's word, needless to say, badly hurt him and he became depressed. After a week or so he went to seek psychiatric help from the university psychologist Dr. Lawrence Moore, to whom he confessed about his plan to kill Tatiana. Unfortunately, Dr. Moore, instead of alerting Tatiana to possible attack that planned by Poddar, he requested the university campus police to arrest him. Poddar was immediately arrested but later he was released after he promised that he would stay away from Tatiana. Soon after this bitter incident, Poddar, on October 27, 1969, shot Tatiana with a pellet gun and then brutally stabbed her to death.
He was convicted of second-degree murder but after appealed he was released and sent back to India, ("where he reportedly married a lawyer and led a normal life"). His conviction was said to be overturned due to a fault in the training of the jury. The California Supreme Court blamed Dr. Moore for failing to warn Tatiana's parents against the threat posed by Poddar. The court also added that 'every mental health professional has not only duty to a patient, but to individuals who are being threatened by a patient.' This ruling, which is later known as Tarasoff, has since been influential in jurisdictions in the U.S.A. and abroad.
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