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Indian American hailed as hero for sheltering protesters in DC

Washington: Rahul Dubey, an Indian-origin resident of Washington, is being hailed as a ‘hero’ on social media and was lauded on mainstream US media after he provided shelter to over 60 protesters during curfew on Monday to ensure they weren’t arrested.

Dubey, Senior Vice President (Innovation and Solutions) and CEO at AHIP (America’s Health Insurance Plans), has a 3-storey house on Swann Avenue.

A group of protesters was marching away from the White House, a site of intense protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and were in his street when curfew began at 7 pm. They were surrounded by police personnel and risked being arrested. Reports said that was when Dubey frantically waved them into his house. He said the police chased a “human tsunami” as far as the entrance of his house.

“Inside, pandemonium ensued as some of the screaming protesters hit by pepper spray sought relief for their eyes with milk and water. On the back patio, neighbors pitched in by handing milk over the fence,” an Associated Press report said.

A protester, who asked to be identified only as Meka, told CNN that the protest was peaceful and people were just trying to figure out what to do when curfew began.

“I guess someone gave an order, and they just started pushing us, spraying mace, trampling people, and then that’s when everybody started panicking,” the 22-year-old college student said.

While many praised Dubey for his actions, he said he didn’t think he had done “anything special.” India has a tradition of “Atithi devobhava”. Talking to a local media outlet, he said, “I know most people would’ve flung open that door.”

“I hope that my 13-year-old son grows up to be just as amazing as they are,”
Dubey said he was in awe of the protestors.

As reports of his generosity were shared, his name started trending on Twitter. There was praise from across the world and people have even stopped by the house to leave flowers and thank you cards.

In India, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in a  tweet thanked “Rahul Dubey for opening your heart and your home to the weak and the oppressed.”

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