Bansal: Do not bake the political cake on the funeral pyre of the victims

The killing of six members of the Sikh community at a gurdwara in Wisconsin, U.S., led to heated arguments between the Opposition and the Treasury benches in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

Raising the issue during zero hour, Harsimrat Kaur of the Akali Dal demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh lead a delegation of Sikh MPs to the U.S. and the government carry out a global campaign to “enlighten” people that Sikhs were not terrorists.

However, when the Opposition demanded a response from the government on the steps taken following the killings, Parliamentary Affairs Minister P.K. Bansal said: “Whatever has happened is a tragedy for the whole nation and it is a matter of concern. We should not bake our political cake on the funeral pyre of the victims. It is not good.” Ms. Kaur pointed out that since 9/11 there had been a thousand attacks on Sikhs as their attire, including the turban and the beard, “resembled a terrorist” or “Osama bin Laden’s community.”

Bharatiya Janata Party’s Shahnawaz Hussain and some Congress and National Conference members objected to the statement and said a terrorist like Osama did not belong to any community.

Pratap Singh Bajwa of the Congress said it was not proper to say that the attire of Sikhs resembled that of a terrorist.

Mr. Bajwa pointed out that U.S. President Barack Obama had assured Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that Washington would take action against those responsible. Among the six killed, four were Indian nationals and their next of kin should be given adequate compensation by the Indian government, he said. Ms. Kaur said that though the U.S. government spoke of zero tolerance of terror, hate crimes against Sikhs were instances of home-grown terror.

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