Sikhs’ religious regimen that requires growing a beard and wearing a turban has been misconstrued by foreign elements and the community has been targeted since 9/11.
Sikhs in Hyderabad led by senior members of the community — S Iqbal Singh, S Harbans Singh and S Pritam Singh — voiced shock and anger on Monday at the killing of worshippers at a gurdwara in the US. The community members staged a protest demonstration in front of the US Consulate office in Begumpet.
Various Sikh organisations and personalities in the City have expressed deep grief at the killing of innocent Sikhs in the Wisconsin Gurdwara. The community elders said that Sikhs have been targeted and have been victims of many hate crimes, particularly since 9/11, all over the world and especially in America.
“Since the attack on the World Trade Center, there have been more than 500 cases of random violence, vandalism, killings, bullying and beatings against the Sikh community in US. As a part of our tradition, Sikh men wear turbans to cover their uncut hair and sport long beards. In the US, they have often been confused for terrorists and targeted,” said Daljeet Singh, member of Andhra Pradesh Sikh Welfare Association.
Around 300 members, under the banner of Andhra Pradesh Sikh Welfare Association, gathered in front of the US Consulate office for a ‘peaceful’ demonstration. They also submitted a memorandum to the Consulate officials condemning the killing and denouncing acts of violence against the Sikh community. They demanded that Sikhs in the US be provided with adequate security to prevent such heinous communal attacks in the future.
The US consulate told the delegation that the incident at Wisconsin was unfortunate and said that the matter would be brought to the notice of higher ups.
“This recent attack on Sikhs in their place of worship is a case of security lapse on the part of the US government where innocent worshippers have become victims of violence. Sikhs are peace-loving people who respect all religions. This kind of crime against the Sikhs attacks the very foundation of religious freedom upon which the country was built. A chain of prayers will be held in various gurdwaras in the City for the victims,” said Ranjeet Sethi, a member of the community.
Six people were killed and several others injured after a gunman opened fire in a gurdwara in Wisconsin in the US during Sunday morning prayers.
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