NEW DELHI — Indian lawmakers voiced anger on Thursday over the killings of six people by a gunman in a Sikh temple in the mid-western US state of Wisconsin.
The killings are blamed on Wade Michael Page, a singer in a neo-Nazi punk band, who opened fire on the worshippers with a handgun.
Harsimrat Kaur Badal, an MP from the opposition Akali Dal Sikh party, said attacks on Sikhs living abroad began after the September 2001 attacks in the United States by members of the Al-Qaeda terror network.
“The last 10 years have seen thousands of Sikhs being murdered, assaulted, abused physically and verbally because of their attire and their resemblance to a terrorist with which they have no links,” she told parliament.
“How much longer will it take for innocent and peace-loving Sikhs to give up their lives or live in terror before the Indian government wakes up to take some corrective steps to stop these senseless killings?” she said.
“It is time for the government to stand up,” the fiery Sikh politician added.
Male Sikhs are easily identified by their turbans and the beard they sport in line with their religious belief.
However, ruling Congress party member Partap Singh Bajwa said those killed at the Sikh shrine in Oak Creek in Wisconsin during services on Sunday were not victims of mistaken identity.
“The gunman was an educated man and the attack on the gurdwara (temple) was intentional and not a case of mistaken identity,” the MP said.
Sushma Swaraj of the main opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party called for a “full statement” on ongoing investigations in the United States and action taken by the Indian government in the wake of the attack.
President Barack Obama on Wednesday called Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to offer his condolences over the temple shooting.
Suspect Page killed himself with a gunshot to the head after being shot in the stomach by a police officer.
US investigators are yet to establish a motive for the killings, but they are looking into Page’s links with white supremacist hate groups.
Indian MPs joined ranks in parliament to offer condolences to families of the victims who included several Indian nationals.