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Over Rs 1 crore raised for gurudwara shooting victims

August 16, 2012 09:46 IST

Ten days after a tragic shootout killed six worshippers and left three others injured, the Sikh community in Wisconsin has raised over Rs 1.4 crores for the victims' families.

"It's an outpouring of support. We are overwhelmed," said Dr Kulwant S Dhaliwal from the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin.

The memorial fund drive for the families of victims had reached 85 per cent of the target amount of $3,000 in just 10 days, Dhaliwal said.

The temple authorities had initially planned to raise the fund in 90 days.

The money would be given to victims' families and would also be given to those who were injured, Dhaliwal said, adding that donations are coming from all over the country and also from Punjab, and other cities in Britain and Canada.

"It is an unexpected response," he said.

In addition to the online fund raising efforts by the Wisconsin gurudwara, which as of Wednesday was $254,088; donations are coming from other sources and organisations
as well, he said.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who attended the memorial service and stayed in Wisconsin, has announced Rs 5 lakh each to the victims' families, Dhaliwal said.

The Sacramento Sikh Temple in California said it has sent $11,000 to the Wisconsin gurudwara to benefit the victims.

Meanwhile, the family of gurudwara president Satwant Singh Kaleka, which had set up the website for online donation, said they will not take the money.

Kaleka was shot and killed while heroically attempting to take down the shooter.

Instead, 100 per cent of all contributions will go directly to lower-income families who lost loved ones, those injured in the shooting, and to repairing the temple, said an announcement on the website.

Six members of the 400-person congregation were shot and killed at the Oak Creek Sikh Temple on August 5.

"In this hour of grief, we thank the thousands of people around the globe who have offered their support and their prayers, and we encourage them to support those victims and families who are most in need. Together, we must work to repair our community and finally address the epidemic of violence in America," said Amardeep Kaleka, son of Satwant Singh Kaleka and founder of the website.

Lalit K Jha In Washington
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