August 5, 2017 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
by Gurjeet Singh
On the morning of 5 August 2012, Sikh community members in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, gathered at their local gurdwara for their regular Sunday Diwan. As worshippers arrived, a gunman — later discovered to have white supremacist ties — opened fire.
Paramjit Kaur, Suveg Singh Khattra, Satwant Singh Kaleka, Prakash Singh, Ranjit Singh, and Sita Singh were murdered that day. Three other people were seriously injured, one of whom, Baba Punjab Singh, remains in long-term care at an inpatient rehabilitation center due to the seriousness of his injuries.
Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) reflecting on the shootings five years ago said:
“Tomorrow marks the fifth anniversary of the Oak Creek tragedy. The horror of the shooting shook the world wide Sikh community.”
“Unfortunately, the Oak Creek shooting was not the first or last attack on Sikhs and the changing world order suggests harassment, discrimination, and attacks based on what Sikhs look like will continue to escalate unless some drastic actions are taken.”
“Sikhs across the globe, whether it be in India, USA, Europe, Australia or New Zealand continue to be targeted because of their distinct identity.”
“Virtually all governments are failing to adequately protect the religious identity of the minority Sikh community. Since 9/11 there has been no concerted effort aimed at successfully tackling hate crimes targeting the Sikh identity. Far too often the hate has resulted in the murder of innocent Sikhs.”
“Increasingly Sikhs in the Diaspora recognise a sovereign Sikh State with embassies across the globe is the only way to properly protect and promote the distinct Sikh identity.”
* Gurjeet Singh is National Press Secretary of Sikh Federation (UK).