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US lawmakers commemorate Oak Creek gurdwara shooting

Washington, August 2 (IANS) American lawmakers are commemorating the first anniversary of the Oak Creek gurdwara tragedy when a white supremacist gunman shot dead six Sikh worshippers, with resolutions in the two chambers.

While the Senate unanimously passed a resolution Thursday remembering the victims of the Aug 5, 2012 tragedy in Wisconsin, a similar resolution is set to be introduced in the US House of Representatives Friday.

Sponsored by Democrat Tammy Baldwin and Republican Ron Johnson, the two Senators from Wisconsin, the resolution condemning hatred and acts of violence towards racial and religious groups calls for renewed efforts to end that violence.

Co-sponsored by Chris Coons, John Cornyn and Kirsten Gillibrand, the resolution also honours the memory of the six worshippers shot dead by gunman Wade Michael Page-Paramjit Kaur, Prakash Singh, Ranjit Singh, Satwant Singh Kaleka, Sita Singh and Suveg Singh.

A similar resolution is set to be introduced in the US House of Representatives Friday by Democrat Judy Chu and Republican David G. Valadao, co-chairs of the American-Sikh Congressional Caucus, along with other caucus
members and representatives,

“One year after gunfire shattered the peace of the gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, we are reminded of the frailty of life and the power that prejudices hold in our society,” said Chu.

“As we mark this solemn day and remember the six people who were lost, we must work to ensure that discrimination and hateful acts based on intolerance do not have a place in our nation,” she said.

“Sadly, hatred and prejudice toward the Sikh Community has increased over the last decade and has occurred in my own Central Valley Congressional District, which is home to a large Sikh population,” said Valadao.

“Heartbreaking events such as this, highlight deep societal problems,” he said. “As Americans, we must see past stereotypes and treat each other with compassion and respect.”

Meanwhile community organisations led South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a network of 41 South Asian organizations, have planned several events for “Remembering Oak Creek”.

These include remembrance of the six victims at the US Federal Court House hosted by US Attorney James Santelle on Friday.

Chardhi Kala 6K Memorial Run/Walk – “Turning Tragedy into Triumph” on Saturday, tributes to departed souls by guests, dignitaries, and well wishers on Sunday and a candle light vigil on Monday.

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