Assure Indians of safety: Krishna to US (Lead)

August 7th, 2012 - 11:53 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 7 (IANS) The US needs to assure the Indian community that they will be safe in that country, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said Tuesday after six Sikhs were killed in a gurdwara shootout, and asked Washington to step up security at all places of worship.

The US government is “fully in line with the thinking of the Indian government” in the matter, the minister said after meeting a delegation of Sikhs in the capital. Replying to a query whether the US should review its gun laws, Krishna said, “The government cannot step into the internal affairs of another country.”

“We feel strongly about the incident as Sikhs have played a significant role in the US…We have asked the US government to thoroughly probe the attack,” Krishna told reporters after a delegation of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the apex body of Sikhs, met him here.

A lone gunman, Wade Michael Page, described as a white supremacist, Sunday morning opened fire at devotees in the gurdwara in the Milwaukee suburb of Oak Creek, spreading terror in the area and leaving the community stunned. He killed six people before he was shot dead by police.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called up Krishna from South Africa Monday night to convey her condolences and told him that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will look into the motives of the forces that worked towards the incident.

“She described the attack as a heinous crime against humanity and said the US believes in a pluralistic society,” said Krishna, adding, “she (Clinton) has asked the FBI to look into the motives of the forces that worked towards the incident”.

“I have also suggested to Secretary Clinton that the places of worship in US cutting across religious denominations must be given full protection… I found she is more than willing to do it and she is as disturbed as anyone of us in India,” he said.

Referring to investigations into the attack, Krishna said: “I think the FBI of US has already swung into the action. Once they are in possession of the report, they might convey to India.”

“Our ambassador is in touch with White House, with the State Department and I am sure that the kind of inquiry and investigation is going to take place in US is going to reveal the identity and background of the one who was responsible,” he added.

Commenting on the attack, SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar said: “The attack has shaken the entire Sikh community, especially those in the US.” He told reporters he has asked Krishna to take up the issue of proper identification of Sikhs with the US government.

“There have been four-five attacks on Sikh community members after 9/11. We want the US government should settle the issue of Sikh identification,” said Makkar.

According to Makkar, the Sikh community is deeply pained as the attack took place inside the gurdwara in the presence of the sacred book, the Guru Granth Sahib.

He said the SGPC has invited US ambassador Nancy Powell for a prayer meeting at the Harmandir Sahib gurdwara (Golden Temple) in Amritsar Aug 10.

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