Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Tuesday assured the next of kin of the victims of the shooting incident in United States that the state government would bear all expenditure on transportation of the bodies to India for cremation at their native places.
Badal contacted Indian Ambassador to US Nirupama Rao on telephone late last night and informed her that the Punjab government would extend all possible help to the bereaved families of the victims of the ghastly incident.
The Chief Minister also sought cooperation from the Indian Embassy in the US to facilitate the smooth transportation of the bodies by keeping a close liaison with the concerned agencies in the US government, according to an official spokesman here.
Yesterday, Badal visited the residence of two brothers Sita Singh and Ranjit Singh, who were killed in the shootout incident, at Tilak Nagar in New Delhi, to express his grief, the spokesman said.
Badal also announced an ex-gratia amount of Rs one lakh each to the next of kin of the victims.
Yesterday Badal had asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take up with the Obama administration the issue of safety and security of Sikhs living in the US.
Meanwhile, Punjab`s Deputy Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal President Sukhbir Singh Badal today urged the US government to ensure protection of Sikhs and Punjabis residing in the country and to take appropriate steps to ensure that such incidents do not happen in the future.
Sukhbir, who discussed at length the whole incident in a meeting held here today with Maheshinder Singh Grewal, Advisor to the state Chief Minister, and the party Secretary and Spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema, also sent a written memorandum to the Ambassador of the USA at New Delhi.
In the memorandum, Sukhbir asked the US Ambassador to take immediate steps to safeguard the interest of the Sikhs and other Punjabis residing in the US and said that the ghastly act has created ripples in the community world over.
Sukhbir Badal expressed surprise that the incident has taken at such a place of worship where universal brotherhood, welfare of humanity and social equality are preached all the times.
"The cold blooded murders of such pious souls and that too at a place of worship have caused grief, shock and immense injury to the Sikh psyche and shaken the entire community world over," Sukhbir said in a release.
He reminded the US administration that the Sikh community which has a population of about 10 lakh in the USA, has contributed a lot for the economic, social and cultural growth of that country.
"Still the Sikhs are repeatedly being made targets of violence at many places in America and unfortunately these incidents were downplayed by the US administration labelling these as isolated cases of mistaken identity," he lamented.
He said that the present violence in no way can be termed as a case of mistaken identity as the Gurudwara, which has been attacked, exists there for more then 40 years.
"This ghastly act has made them to believe that USA has failed to reciprocate to the services rendered to it by the Sikh community," he said.
Six people were killed in the firing on the gurudwara during Sunday morning prayers in Wisconsin by at least one gunman who was also shot dead.