Wisconsin (U.S.), Aug. 10 (ANI): The gurdwara in the Milwaukee suburb of Oak Creek in Wisconsin, U.S.A., where six worshippers were gunned down by a White Supremacist, reopened its doors on Thursday for to observe a public wake and to attend private funerals.
Thousands are expected to attend Friday's public wake at the Oak Creek High School, where the bodies of the six victims will lie in repose, according to local Sikh leaders. Among those expected to attend are Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and United States Attorney General Eric Holder.
The two-hour wake will be held in the high school's gymnasium, about two miles south of the gurdwara where the August 5 shooting occurred.
Sikh religious leaders will lead prayers and hymns during the ceremony as a procession of mourners pass by the bodies. The public wake will be followed by private funeral ceremonies in the afternoon at a crematorium.
Preetpal Singh, the coordinator of the congregation, said cleaning work was under way before the start of the prayer session.
They have handed over the gurdwara to us. The cleaning work is almost done. The prayers services will start from tomorrow (Friday) morning according to our religious rituals, said Singh. People were seen painting the walls of the temple and removing blood stains from the floor.
Singh also lauded the Obama administration and locals for cooperating with them in their hour of crisis.
We have received a very good response from the Obama-led government, as well as from locals and the media. Everyone has stood beside us in this hour of crisis. As far as the identification crisis is concerned, it is the need of the hour to get this matter resolved as soon as possible, said Singh.
Meanwhile, American civil rights activist Jesse Jackson visited the Oak Creek Sikh temple and conveyed his condolences to the families of the victims. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Jackson said people from all communities needed to work together to fight racism and terrorism.
We do not want the Sikh community to feel the isolation. We are part of the same family. What we can do in this hour, is to share with you a lot of our concerns having being the part of this, and we must not limit ourselves, but work together, rather more closely, over long period of time, as people are there, the turban is there, be it the skin colour, but none of us, in some way, should demean because of our appearances. This is not fair, it is not right, said Jackson.
Satwant Singh Kaleka, the 65-year-old president of the congregation, was one of the victims. The others who died were Sita Singh, 41, Ranjit Singh, 49, Prakash Singh, 39, Paramjit Kaur, 41, and Suveg Singh, 84. By Ravinder Singh Robin (ANI)