Punjab leaders call for safety of Sikhs in US (Lead, correcting para six)

August 6th, 2012 - 10:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Chandigarh, Aug 6 (IANS) Political leaders in Punjab Monday urged the US administration and the Indian government to ensure safety and security of the Sikh community in America following the attack on a gurdwara in Wisconsin’s Milwaukee which left six people dead and many others injured.

The incident also put a question mark on the wedding celebrations of Punjab cabinet minister Surjit Singh Rakhra’s niece in Wisconsin, for which top ministers and leaders from the state were headed to the US.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal Monday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take up the issue of safety and security of the Sikh community in that country with the US administration.

He also called for a comprehensive administrative and social campaign to eliminate the chances of recurrence of such tragic incidents in future.

The chief minister and his son and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal were scheduled to leave for the US Monday to join the wedding celebrations in Wisconsin area.

Cabinet minister Rakhra’s niece, who is daughter of his younger brother and billionaire Darshan Singh Dhaliwal, is getting married Saturday (Aug 11). Besides the Badals, many other leaders, including assembly Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal, ministers and other politicians were headed for the US for the wedding function.

Expressing his shock over the Oak Creek killings, the chief minister in his letter to the prime minister said: “There is a growing feeling in the minds of the people of Punjab in general and the Sikhs in particular that the government of India must get more actively and vigorously involved in getting the US Administration to address the issue (of safety of Sikhs) in right earnest.”

He claimed that Sikhs were attacked because of their identity (turban and beard) following the 9/11 attack in the US. He said that Sikhs had completely adapted in the social and cultural framework of US and other countries and had contributed to the progress of these countries.

Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh also condemned the attack at the gurdwara and hoped that the guilty would be punished. He said the entire Sikh community was shocked at the incident.

Radical Sikh organisation Dal Khalsa’s spokesman Kanwarpal Singh expressed concern “at the continuing hate crime incidents in USA against Sikhs”.

“We appeal to the US government and civil society to take all effective measures to stop recurrence of such criminal attacks against Sikhs,” he said.

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