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Monday, August 6, 2012

Firing In USA Gurudwara: American Society Becoming Intolerant?


A peaceful place of worship for the Sikh community, called Gurudwara or temple, in a serene location of the Midwest district of the US, Wisconsin. Over 300 hundred Sikh Americans had assembled there for morning prayers on August 5, 2012, and preparations were also going on for a meal after the rituals. Understandably a lot of women and children were also there. Suddenly a bald and stocky white man with two handguns walked in and started firing indiscriminately. At least six people got killed instantly with scores injured.
But for an exceptional promptness and bravery by an American policeman who attended to the SOS call immediately and got critically injured in the ensuing encounter, the toll could have been much bigger. As the FBI took up the investigations speculation was rife about possible motives.
Was this horrific incident a case of domestic terrorism as suggested or hate crimes or antics of a trigger-happy psychopath? Since the killed gunman was identified as an ex-US army man with tattoo marks the possibility of hate crime was not ruled out.
USA has a long history of hate crimes and since the catastrophic 9/11 terror attack there has been a marked rise in such incidents. There had been maniacal firings in educational institutions over the years involving killing of Indian students in stray cases. The worst crime was the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007 when a lone gunman killed as many as 32 people. The 9/11 attack had unleashed a wave of hatred in the country against the perpetrators belonging to a particular community and in the process the Sikh community has been increasingly targeted due to mistaken identities. This Gurudwara crime is the worst so far.
If it is accepted as a hate crime, then what about the massacre in the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises only last month in Colorado when a mysterious gunman shot down 12 innocents?  Maybe along with hatred economic and social pressures are being felt by the American society due to a host of reasons like recessionary trends, rising unemployment and the outsourcing syndrome. With such pressures intolerance could possibly be growing stronger and the targets naturally translate into the immigrant communities. 
Indian people and the Sikh community here in India are shocked and angered. The Prime Minister of India, himself a Sikh, has expressed his deep anguish and resolved to pursue the matter at the highest level. The US President Barack Obama and his wife have also conveyed tremendous regret and condolence over the incident.
Such horrible crimes against mankind cannot be justified by any kind of reality and must be condemned universally.
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