Tragic shoot out in US Gurudwara
Baltej Singh Mann
The Indian community is shocked over the shootout at Oak Creek Gurudwara in Wisconsin city of the US in which seven people were killed. This attack is particularly troubling due to its occurrence at a place of worship. All houses of worship, like this Gurudwara, are places of peace. Attacks at any of the nation’s houses of worship must be condemned by the global civil society. This type of crime strikes at the very foundation of religious freedom, among the fundamental principles upon which the United States of America was built.
Now there is a growing feeling in the minds of the Punjabis in general and the Sikhs in particular that the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and the External Affairs Ministry should widen their diplomatic response to cover other nations especially America, where the Sikhs are residing and contributing in a significant way to their progress. There is also a strong feeling among the Sikh masses that Obama Administration should start a comprehensive awareness campaign about the identity and the highly constructive role of the Sikh community in that country. Such an initiative should have been taken immediately after violent attacks against members of the Sikh community in the wake of 9/11. Unfortunately, inadequate steps in this direction seem to have been taken. It is also hoped that the US government would punish the perpetrators of this heinous crime carried out in the house of God.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) strongly condemned the killing of innocent Sikhs at a Gurudwara in the US and demanded stern punishment to the culprits.
In a statement issued on August 8, RSS Sarkaryavah Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi said: It came as a rude shock to millions of peace-loving citizens of the world, especially the countless millions of Indians that several innocent Sikhs were massacred and several more injured in the mindless shoot out outside a Gurudwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, US. We strongly condemn this heinous crime. It demonstrates the abominable tendencies of racism and violence still prevalent in some sections of the American society and the ignorance about great humanistic precepts of Sikhism.
“Our heart goes out for the innocent Sikhs, including women, elderly and children. We pray to the Vaheguru to offer peace to the departed and quick relief to the injured. We offer condolences to the families of the deceased. We urge our Government to talk to the counterparts in US to ensure that proper education about the great teachings of religions from Bharat like Sikhism etc. are imparted widely to the American society as the hoary common heritage of the humanity so that such acts of vendetta borne out of misinformed prejudices and hatred are not repeated.”
In a statement issued on August 8 the VHP demanded increased and sustained security for the places of worship of the communities staying in America peacefully for years together. Indians have contributed greatly to America’s economy, tourism, hi-tech, academics, social service, science and technology. Indian students studying in American Universities and Indians working in American/American-Indian companies contribute a lot to America’s treasury. Places of worship and lives of peace-loving communities must be protected by the Government all time,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, Rashtriya Sikh Sangat also condemned the killing and demanded exemplary action against those behind it. In a statement Sikh Sangat national president Sardar Gurcharan Singh Gill damanded security to the Indians living in the US.