New Delhi: Moved by the courage of the police officer who took eight bullets trying to rescue one of the victims of the shootout at a gurudwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee has decided to present him with $5,000.
“There were 300-400 people in the gurudwara when the shooting took place. Had there been any lapses on the part of the police, the loss would have much more. We have decided to give $5000 to the police officer who has been injured. We are trying to get more details about him and whether we are allowed to reward the police officer,” said Harvinder Singh, former president of the Committee.
Singh, who handed over a letter to the US ambassador Nancy Powell on Monday urging the government to curb gun culture, said she assured him that all steps necessary would be taken to ensure that such a incident is not repeated.
Praising the swift response by the police department and the US government, Singh said, “A police officer put his own life in danger and killed the gunman. We are very thankful to the police department. Within two hours, gurudwaras across country were provided with security cover.”
The “identity problems” faced by the Sikh community, which number three million across the United States and Canada combined, was due to a general lack of awareness among the American public about the Sikh community and religion, said Singh.
Asked if post 9/11 there had been a spurt in instances of hate crimes against the Sikh community, Singh said, “Innocent people, irrespective of religion should not be targeted. What wrong have the Muslims in America done to anybody. Why should innocent people be penalized? No loss to human life should be there. Everyone should feel safe.”
Underling the responsibility of the government to educate the public and create awareness, Singh said that while the shooting at the gurudwara was a ‘stray incident’ it was an act of terror and that the US government should treat it on par with acts of terrorism.