Michelle to meet US gurudwara shooting victims

Visit part of Obama administrations bid to reach out to Sikh community

In a bid to reach out to the grieving Sikh community, US First Lady Michelle Obama will on Thursday travel to Wisconsin to meet the victims and family members of the Oak Creek Gurdwara shooting that killed six worshippers.

The private visit of Michelle is part of Obama administration’s move to reach out to the Sikh community who were shattered by the August 5 shooting.

Michelle would be meeting the victims and family members of those who were killed in the tragic incident, the White House said.

The shooting incident had shocked the entire nation and India as well, with the Sikh community terming it as an incident of hate crime.

US President Barack Obama had called for some “soul searching” after the incident. Welcoming the gesture, announced last week, Dr Rajwant Singh, chairman of the Sikh Council had said: “It is great to hear that First lady will be comforting the families devastated by the violence in the Sikh gurudwaras motivated by hate and it is unquestionably a kind gesture. It is important that these families hear firsthand how she and the President feel about this terrible tragedy.”

He said it was critical that the top leadership acts in such a dignified manner to heal the raw wounds of the families and the entire Sikh community.

Singh added that a visit by the First Lady will be reassuring and heartening and it will be powerful symbol of President Obama embracing the Sikhs at this serious juncture.

“A visit of this sort restores the faith of the nation and brings everyone together,” he said. Six Sikh worshippers, including four Indian nationals, were killed when a white supremacist identified as Wade Michael Page went on a shooting rampage inside the gurudwara.

“We would also like to thank the White House for taking the historic decision of having the First Lady visit the affected families and stand in solidarity with the community,” said Manvinder Singh of United Sikhs, a Sikh advocacy group.

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