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Sikh Americans join gun violence protest

Washington, April 13, 2013 (IANS) 15:46 IST
Sikh-Americans joined 25 religious leaders from across America to set up markers on the national mall to honour victims of gun violence, including six Sikh worshippers killed at an Oak Creek, Wisconsin, gurdwara last August.

Exhorting the US Congress to pass legislation to limit access to firearms, the peace activists created a mock cemetery on the mall Thursday by installing more than 3,300 crosses, Stars of David, Hinduism, Sikhism and Islamic symbols.

Organizers said the number of markers symbolised the victims of gun violence who have died since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, last December.

At 11:30 a.m., religious leaders from across the country-including some from Newtown-began a 24-hour vigil among the grave markers, a protest aimed at lawmakers as they began to vote on a set of new gun restrictions.

Dr. Rajwant Singh, Chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education, recited a Sikh prayer calling for end to 'senseless violence' and appealed to political leaders to pass common sense gun restriction laws.

"We need to take action so many more crosses and many more religious symbols are not to be placed here to arouse the conscience of the nation," he said.

Nihal Singh, member of Guru Gobind Singh Foundation gurdwara in Rockville, Maryland, said, "We need to be fully engaged in this important issue and work with all communities to make things happen."

Many leaders laid the blame for inaction in US congress on those lawmakers who take gun-lobby money and ignore the national will. Polls show that most Americans support universal background checks and tighter gun control.

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