Indians Call for Justice After Deadly Shooting of American Sikhs

  • Share
  • Read Later
SAJJAD HUSSAIN / AFP / GettyImages

Activists hold placards as they pray during a protest near the U.S. embassy in New Delhi on Aug. 6, 2012, after a gunman in the U.S. shot worshippers at a suburban Sikh temple in Wisconsin

Sikh leaders and local media reacted with shock and calls for justice as news of the fatal shooting at a Sikh temple outside Milwaukee arrived in India. In a statement released on Monday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, India’s first Sikh leader, said he was “shocked and saddened” by the attacks. He said the country “stands in solidarity with all the peace-loving Americans who have condemned this violence” and asked U.S. authorities to take steps to prevent further violence.

Shortly before 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, a white man reported to be an Army veteran in his 40s walked into a Sikh temple in Oak Park, Wis., and opened fire on worshippers, killing six and injuring three. The suspect, whose identity has not been disclosed, was later shot and killed by a police officer. Traumatized witnesses described a scene of “carnage” and “insanity” as members of the five-year-old temple, or gurdwara, fled and barricaded themselves in a bathroom and kitchen pantry. Satwant Kaleka, the temple leader, was among those killed in the attack, reportedly after trying to tackle the gunman to the floor.

(PHOTOS: Sikh Temple Shooting: Wisconsin Community Reacts to Shocking Attack)

“Going to a place of worship and shooting people who are worshipping God is a shock to the entire Sikh community,” an official in Shiromani Akali Dal, a Sikh political party, said on Monday. Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world, with about 25 million followers globally and half a million followers in the U.S. Sikh groups expressed concern that the violence was yet another deadly manifestation of the doubly misguided rage that Sikhs, whose followers wear turbans and are sometimes mistakenly identified as Muslims, have been grappling with since the Sept. 11 attacks unleashed a wave of Islamophobic sentiment.

Just four days after the attacks, a Sikh gas-station owner in Arizona was shot and killed after a man targeted him for being a Muslim. Since then, there have been intermittent incidents in which American Sikhs have been shot or beaten in similarly motivated incidents. “It is tragic and there is no right way to say it — Sikhs in Oak Creek were targeted because the gunman probably thought they were Muslims,” read an article on Firstpost.com, an Indian news site.

(MORE: Sikh Temple Shooter Had Ties to White Supremacists)

“After 9/11, there was a big spike in hate crimes,” says Amardeep Singh, program director of the Sikh Coalition, a civil rights group for Sikh Americans. (The group recently launched a mobile app called FlyRights, which compiles complaints of racial profiling at airports.) He says violent crime has largely tapered off, but “what has persisted are softer forms of discrimination like school bullying and workplace discrimination.” Recent surveys of Sikh communities in New York City and the San Francisco area show that over 70% of Sikh kids across socioeconomic lines have reported some kind of name calling, and over 20% have experienced unwanted physical contact or hitting.

Was Sunday’s attack a hate crime? “If it was a hate crime, it should be called a hate crime,” says Singh of the Sikh Coalition. “It matters.” The FBI said on Sunday that “no motive has been determined at this time.” The incident is being looked into as an act of domestic terrorism, defined as the “unlawful use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual based and operating entirely within the United States or Puerto Rico without foreign direction committed against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof in furtherance of political or social objectives.”

MORE: Does India Want to Be a Part of America’s Plan for Asia?

MORE: The Worst Mass Shootings of the Past 50 Years

223 comments
cashmoney
cashmoney

The ignorance on this blog and in America is amazing.  I mean they don't know the difference between a Sikh and a Muslim???  Americans need to start reading more and learning before doing! Idiots!!!!

alvord1430
alvord1430

While you Indians were protesting in front of our embassy, about 100 Indians died in the New Delhi streets from starvation.  Why weren't you feeding them?  Why can't you get along with Pakistan?  Why do you continue to accept U.S. financial aid?  Why do so many Indians have to leave India to make a meaningful life for themselves?

ProwdLiberal
ProwdLiberal

@yahoo-CV6F3ZV47RTPKBLMTWRVSKCLXQ:disqus 

"Iraq was a threat, North Korea, Iran are threats - so we have to deal with wars. "

LOL!

Iraq was a threat? Nobody can help you if you are so blind to the facts even after 10 years. In fact Saddam was a great friend of US. He fought a 10 year war with Iran in which a million people were killed containing Iran on behalf of US. In fact US is known around the world as a country that uses other countries for its own interests. That is why most countries do not like US. Unfortunately we do not have many friends around the world. 

"I know, because I have been there - Oh - and by the way - it was a Democratic President and Congress that sent me there, drafted, not volunteering - and we lost 58,000 plus good men and I lost a lot of friends - so don't talk to me about "innocent civilians" - in Viet Nam those "innocent civilians" would kill you as quick as any soldier"

Yup! I hope you also remember that the Vietnam war was also based on LIES which was started with "gulf of Tonkin incident. The vietnam war was also fought on classic American paranoia called "communist take over of the world" If you did not invade countries based on LIES and false pretext like WMD, they would not kill you as quickly as any soldier. What do you expect, when you invade a country based on lies and responsible for the deaths of 100,000+ Iraqis, you think they will kiss you and love you?

globalcitizenn
globalcitizenn

We focus too much on the help he did or did not get for the "how"....but

we neglect to pay attention to the plenty of help he got on the "why".

There are two aspects to every tragedy...How it was committed and Why

it was committed. To prevent future tragedies we need to restrict

access to the how (Guns) and simultaneously work on diluting the

influence of Hate Groups and dispelling ignorance(the "Why").

Also I do not believe Page was medically insane. He was

impressionable and vulnerable due to his rejections and failures in his life. The neo-nazis took him under their "nurturing wing" and gave him somebody to blame for his own shortcomings and failures in life.

He had the same mindset of, say, an islamic terrorist....a rejected, abandoned, troubled person groomed by an organization that gives you a "noble cause" to live/die for (making your life suddenly seem important when you were absolutely nothing yesterday) and somebody to blame and brand as the "Enemy". he, like other terrorists representing whatever cause, was definitely NOT medically insane. He knew exactly what he was

doing. He wanted to send a message to the non-white people in a suicide

mission and he achieved that. The message was that of the movement he

belonged to and he succeeded in instilling terror and fear in the hearts

of a certain demographic of people. he was a terrorist, period.

You could have done a dozen mental health assessments on him and he

would have turned up Sane on every single one of them. Sane people are

capable of doing extremely insane things. Problem was not with his

diminished mental faculties but with the way he thought and what he

lived by (his belief system).

AggieMike98
AggieMike98

I wonder how worked up they get at the news that 300,000 to 350,000 of their own countrymen die every year from dysentery. It is true that there is a tiny chance you might be gunned down by a racist in America if you are a Sikh. It is exponentially more likely that in India you might end up drinking someones feces.

Chiku Misra
Chiku Misra

indians can call for whatever they want, but the case is over since the shooter is dead.

DRJD100
DRJD100

Try killing a Sikh guy without a gun...you will be casualty in a second you fool

us_1776
us_1776

The only way you begin to stop these kinds of attacks is to get the racists and bigots off of the airwaves in America.  

Specifically the likes of Rush / Hannity / Beck and their ilk.

.

tankette
tankette

India, mind your own business. I recall any number of massacres in India against Sikhs...take care of your own backyard...

globalcitizenn
globalcitizenn

 That's exactly what the whole world said to America when it went invading other countries (replace religious group in sentence).

stars111
stars111

please take a few lessons in world history before u say anything. India is the largest democracy with most diverse culture. BTW does that justify what the gunman did???? India is not asking to rage war on anyone, but to take care of the r**** wing nuts who have zero tolerance towards any other race or religions...

rrock0267
rrock0267

guess you never heard of the murder of Ghandi, huh?

eric_r_smith
eric_r_smith

The thing about "hate" crimes is that it assigns the punishment to the motivation.  Supposed motivation since nobody can actually know a person's motivations.

The fact that this guy murdered is enough.  Punish that crime (in some cases it is capital punishment).  I don't actually care why he murdered.  In this particular case, he is already dead.  Except in very few extreme circumstances, that is an absolute condition.

ProwdLiberal
ProwdLiberal

All those on this forum saying "the guys is dead, what more justice you need" need to read this

Sikh Temple Shooter Michael Wade Urged Fellow White Supremacist to get Involved

Read more: http://latino.foxnews.com/lati... 

Do you guys know for sure that others were involved or not in some way?

larascola
larascola

really, that's all you could come up with? a hateful, condescending and judgemental comment?

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

I understand your need for justice.  The affected families should bring wrongful death actions against the US government for having created and trained a killer, and against the NRA for making it possible for him to easily arm himself and easily kill.

rrock0267
rrock0267

uh, really?  He wasn't an assassin. He served in the Army and was discharged early. He was NOT a trained killer. LOL. I was in the Air Force, I definitely was not a trained killer. Go tell your mommy you logged onto her account and let the adults talk for awhile.

Jack646
Jack646

The sikhs are the very peopel who massacred thousands of Hindus in India. Who are they to talk about racism? Karma

Hansome
Hansome

"Justice"? Wade Page is dead. He can't get any deader.

globalcitizenn
globalcitizenn

 He is dead. But his ideology and message of hate lives. And THAT needs to die.

charles000
charles000

I would just like to offer to all the Sikh people, that this was an absurdly horrible act by a demented lunatic, does not at all represent an "American" perspective toward anyone of the Sikh faith or culture.

Yes, there are some incredibly stupid, violent people out there who see anyone with a turban and a beard as being part of the "axis of evil" or whatever the current term is.After the events of 9/11/01, a lot of emotions were catalyzed, and sadly, in some cases, the lunatic fringe elements of society here (as there is in any society), have developed hatreds and fears based on nothing but their own stupidity.My condolences to all families and loved ones of the people who were killed in this horrible event. 

brooklin352
brooklin352

my

co-worker's sister brought in $18268 the previous week. she has been

working on the computer and got a $534500 house. All she did was get

fortunate and put into use the guide explained on this website

http://LazyCash49.com

Hastur_the_Unspeakable
Hastur_the_Unspeakable

I wonder what kind of "justice" did they envision? Or which would appease them? The perpetrator killed himself. Should we punish his family as well? Just punish people at random? His whole neighborhood, perhaps? Sh!t happens, unfortunately. That's life. But that's what faith is for, right?

SebaKL
SebaKL

Well, they could kill the guy again, will that be justice enough? Why not focus on your own social bullying, caste discriminating and the like, which India is full of, and let the Americans deal with their own affairs. Dirty bunch of backward illiterates.

globalcitizenn
globalcitizenn

 And you belong to a Crazy bunch of ignorant rascists.

Chiku Misra
Chiku Misra

the last sentence was unnecessary and hateful, but the rest is spot-on.

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

 Vermin like you should be exterminated.

happydayfortennis
happydayfortennis

This racist vitriol is part of the problem. You have nothing to offer except hatred.

Paul Hanson
Paul Hanson

You lost me at the last sentence.

If you expect mutual respect, you should give it in turn. That's why it's mutual.

SebaKL
SebaKL

Wow, so sensitive. I think it's time to change your tampons, ladies. Spelling out facts has nothing to do with racism or hate. Just because India manufacture .Net programmers, doesn't mean the whole nation is bright. It still is, in majority poverty ravaged and illiterate. Spent 10 years working with Tata, there is a reason why westerners use the term "unteachable". I judge people by the way they treat the one in need, the one they don't know, and animals. I have never seen so much hate toward own country man as I have seen in India. Especially the outright discrimination against least fortunate, treated worse than stray dogs.

Now, off you go, change your tampons.