Biden and US lawmakers remember Oak Creek gurdwara shootout


On August 5, 2012, a white supremacist opened fire inside the Oak Creek gurdwara in Wisconsin, killing six people.

While it’s been 8 years since the tragic incident, the memory of it is still strong within the community.

To honor and remember the victims, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and several US lawmakers joined the Sikh community, urged the people to reduce gun violence and give hate no safe harbor.

In a statement on Thursday, Biden said, “To truly honor those we lost, it’s up to all of us to stand up to bigotry in our lives, give hate no safe harbor, and reduce gun violence.”

The six victims killed included one woman: Paramjit Kaur, 41; and five men: Satwant Singh Kaleka, 65, the founder of the gurdwara; Prakash Singh, 39; Sita Singh, 41; Ranjit Singh, 49; and Suveg Singh Khattra, 84. All of the male victims wore turbans as part of their Sikh faith.

“We just honored El Paso and next week is the anniversary of Charlottesville. How much longer will the rising threat of white supremacy go virtually unaddressed?” Indian-origin Senator Kamala Harris said in a tweet.

Even after continued gun violence year after year in the US, there is still no strong policies towards bringing it to an end.

Congresswoman Judy Chu said, “Today, as our nation continues to grapple with systemic racism and inequality, it is more important than ever that we recommit ourselves to rejecting hate and intolerance in all forms.

“Whether it is a gurdwara in Oak Creek, a church in Charleston, a synagogue in Pittsburgh, or a Walmart in El Paso, an attack on any racial or religious community is an attack on us all. These acts of domestic terrorism do not reflect our values as a nation, and we must denounce violence and hatred wherever they arise,” she said.

Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi said, “As we continue to stand up against bigotry and racism today, we remember the tragedy at Oak Creek Gurdwara eight years ago. We remember their lives as we strive to make the United States a better, more tolerant and accepting society.”

“Especially, as we currently face a global pandemic and economic crisis, we must never let our fears or prejudices cloud our judgment and actions. We are in this together,” he added.

Rajwant Singh, co-founder and senior adviser of the National Sikh Campaign, said the community is grateful that Biden took time from his busy campaign schedule to remind all Americans about the tragedy.

“Sikh community will remain indebted to the Oak Creek Police Department, Mayor of Oak Creek, Governor Scott Walker, US Department of Justice and President Barack Obama for their support to the community during this very difficult time. America lowered its flags in honor of these victims. Millions of Americans poured love and support to the Sikhs, for which the community will always remain grateful,” he said.