Gurdwara shooting: Indian envoy questions free use of guns in US

Calling for a 'mature conversation' over the incidents of hate crimes, Indian envoy to the US Nirupama Rao has resonated views expressed by US President Obama saying the country needs soul searching in the wake of gurdwara shooting.

hidden August 10, 2012 11:45:05 IST
Gurdwara shooting: Indian envoy questions free use of guns in US

Washington: Calling for a "mature conversation" over the incidents of hate crimes, Indian ambassador to the US Nirupama Rao has resonated views expressed by US President Barack Obama saying the country needs soul searching in the wake of Oak Creek gurdwara shooting.

Rao also raised questions about the free use of guns in the United States and problems Sikhs have faced in the country whether "in schools or in the workplace".

While as a foreign diplomat she could not take a position on gun control over the incident that left six worshippers dead, people in India did raise questions about why Sikhs should become "collateral damage" in such violent incidents, she said in an interview with National Public Radio Thursday.

Gurdwara shooting Indian envoy questions free use of guns in US

Nirupama Rao raised questions about the free use of guns in the US and problems Sikhs have faced in the country whether "in schools or in the workplace".

"But I wanted to say that in India, you know, when we see violence of this nature and we see Sikhs somehow becoming some kind of collateral damage in many senses, obviously, you know, questions do arise about the use of guns in the United States and why all this should happen," she said.

Rao added: "We need an architecture of soul searching on this. We really need an architecture, whether it's hate crime, whether it's domestic terrorism. Why is it happening? We need some soul searching. Why do acts of violence of this nature happen? We need a mature conversation on that."

"So when President Obama spoke about soul searching, you know, the need for soul searching on these issues, I think he really hit the nail on the head," said Rao, who travelled to Wisconsin to meet victims families and government officials after the weekend's shooting incident.

"I know that the authorities described it as an act of domestic terrorism, and I don't really want to pick holes in that.

"But I know that the Sikh community and the — you know, I keep in touch with the Sikhs all over the country, and they have talked about the fact that they have encountered problems from time to time when, in the — let's say in schools or in the workplace," she said.

Rao said in India when the news broke of the shootings, people were agitated.

"We're an emotional people, and the first reactions are always emotional and of concern and outrage, she said, this was not the case at the government level.

"Well, anger in the sense — this is at the level of the people. I would say that at the level of the governments, the two governments, the reactions have been very sober, very restrained. But when it comes to people — and we live in democracies. You know, they express their emotions freely, and that's what you saw happening," said the Ambassador.

PTI

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