External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna met family members of victims of Oak Creek Gurdwara shooting and said India and the U.S. stand united against those who perpetrate a culture of violence and hatred.
Mr. Krishna paid a visit to the Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee on Thursday and met the family of priest Punjab Singh, who is still in coma after being critically injured in the August shooting.
He later met with families of six Sikhs, who were killed when lone gunman Wade Michael Page went on a shooting rampage in the gurdwara, critically injuring three others.
Expressing condolences and grief on behalf of the people and the Indian government, Mr. Krishna said such incidents “remind of the grim challenges that we face from perverse ideologies.”
“The senseless act of violence is more tragic because it happened in a place of worship, devotion and peace,” Mr. Krishna said, as he addressed over 300 members of the Sikh community at the Milwaukee gurdwara.
He added that all “rightly thinking people” in India, the U.S. and across the world had condemned the “barbaric act.”
The world has to be rid of such “intolerant bigots” who “perpetrate” a culture of hate and violence, he asserted calling for a unity regardless of nationalities and religious affiliations to fight such forces.
Mr. Krishna had discussed the gurdwara tragedy with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier this week in New York.
He said both he and Ms. Clinton agreed that as democracies and privileged societies that have always upheld the highest ideals of pluralism, diversity and religious freedom, India and the U.S. must stand together against violence and hate.
“We shall not be intimidated by such senseless violence and would continue to pursue (our) faiths and nobody dare obstruct that culture,” Mr. Krishna said.
Thanking the local community for providing emotional support to the Sikhs in the aftermath of the tragedy, Mr. Krishna wished a speedy recovery to Lieutenant Brian Murphy, who was among the first police officers to respond to the shooting and sustained serious injuries in bringing Page down.