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SGPC chief meets Krishna over US gurdwara attack

By Priyanka
August 08, 2012 02:30 IST
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Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, the religious body of the Sikh community, met Union External Affairs Minister S M Krishna in New Delhi on Tuesday, to express their anger over the massacre at a Wisconsin gurdwara on Sunday.

They, however, exercised much restrain and conveyed their anger in a very subtle manner.

The president of the religious body, Avtar Singh Makkar, asked the minister that the incident must be thoroughly investigated to ascertain if the killings were a result of hate crime, or it was a conspiracy targeting the Sikh community.

 "There should be a thorough investigation to find if this was hate crime or a conspiracy against the community," Makkar said.

"Our community has been the target because of mistaken identity in the past as well," he said, "And this has shattered the confidence of the Sikh community in the United States," he added.

Amid a few newspaper reports that the gunman, identified as Wade Michael Page, often posted hate content online, and was still able to procure a licensed gun, Makkar said that people with such records should have been caught in advance.

"Is this a hate crime or a conspiracy against our community?" he asked.

Makkar spoke about this trust deficit in the meeting with Krishna that lasted about 20 minutes. Speaking to mediapersons later, the minister assured members of the SGPC that he had spoken with his US counterpart Hillary Clinton the previous night, who in turn had offered condolences to the aggrieved families.

He further said that the government of India had made two requests to the United States government. "First, there should be a thorough investigation to find out what forces led to it, and secondly, all places of worship belonging to all religious communities should be protected," Krishna said.

The SCPC head also sought assurances from the minister that the local government should take steps so that people and places of worship are safe.

He also argued that the confusion regarding the identities of the members of the Sikh community should have been long settled.

The SGPC has offered to pay a package of Rs 2 lakh to each of the brothers, Ranjit Singh and Sita Singh, who were killed in the attack on Sunday morning. Their families live in west Delhi.

They have also invited the US Ambassador to India Nancy Powell to a quiet prayer meeting at Golden Temple on August 10.

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