Sikh Americans pledge to work for gun control measures
From Lalit K Jha
Washington, Feb 2 (PTI) Members of the Sikh community in the US today pledged to work for gun control measures in the country on the eve of the six month anniversary of the Oak Creek gurdwara shooting in Wisconsin last August that left six worshippers dead.
Washington-based Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE) has appealed to all Sikh gurdwaras to observe ''Ardas Diwas'' - prayer day - on February 5, the six-month anniversary of the shootout.
Six Sikhs were gunned down by a white supremacist at the Oak Creek gurudwara in Wisconsin last August.
"We appeal to all gurdwaras across the nation to observe the six month anniversary of the Oak Creek gurdwara shooting on February 5, by organising an Ardas Diwas and offer prayers for the families of the Oak Creek victims and all other victims of gun violence in America," said Rajwant Singh, SCORE chairman.
"Nobody should die from senseless killings and mass shootings and we must raise our voice," said Rana Sodhi, brother of Balbir Singh Sodhi who was killed after the 9/11 attacks in 2001 in Arizona.
"As a congregation (Sangat) we would be honoured if all Sikh gurudwaras could take a moment to pray with us in order to remember the six-month anniversary of those who gave their lives at the Sikh temple of Wisconsin," said Amardeep Kaleka, son of the president of the Oak Creek Gurdwara who was killed along with five other Sikhs by a lone gunman on August 5 last year.
"We are slowly coming out of the pain but are deeply saddened by what happened in Newtown (Sandy Hook shooting) and appeal to all communities to pray for all victims. We are also thankful for all the support we have gotten from all across the nation and from so many communities," said Raghuvinder Singh, grandson of Punjab Singh, who is recovering from the gun wounds in Oak Creek.
In a statement, SCORE urged Sikhs to join other faith communities to urge members of US Congress to pass gun control measures.
It is appealing to Sikhs to press the lawmakers for universal background checks for all gun purchases, ban semi-automatic assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, make gun trafficking a federal crime, and improve access to mental health services.