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Press Note on Visit of Ambassador Nirupama Rao to Oak Creek, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Washington, DC

Ambassador Nirupama Rao visited Oak Creek, Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 7, 2012 to meet families of the victims of the shooting incident at the Sikh Gurudwara on August 5, 2012. Ambassador Rao also met the Mayor and Police Chief and FBI officials.  The same evening,  she addressed a large gathering at National Night Out, where a Vigil and a memorial service was conducted in remembrance of the victims of the Gurudwara shootings. The Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker was present at the Vigil.
At the residence of Satwant Singh Kaleka, President of the Gurudwara, Ambassador praised the valiant act of the late Satwant Singh in confronting and resisting the gunman, thus saving the lives of other devotees in the Gurudwara. She also expressed her condolences to the family members and relatives of other victims of this tragedy and assured them of all support by the Embassy of India and Consulate General in Chicago.
Oak Creek Mayor Scaffidi welcomed the Ambassador to Oak Creek and expressed regret over the tragic incident, adding that he was struck by the peaceful and composed reaction of the Sikh community. He also informed Ambassador Rao of the measures that he would put in place for better interaction with the Sikh community and to upgrade the security at the Gurudwara. Ambassador was briefed about the incident by Mayor Scaffidi, Police Chief John Edwards and FBI Special Agent in charge Teresa Carlson. Ambassador conveyed her appreciation for the prompt action by Oak Creek police and the heroic role of Lt Brian Murphy who was shot several times by the assailant. She enquired after Lt. Murphy and was reassured that he us recovering from his injuries in hospital. Ambassador also raised the concern of the families for early release of the bodies of the victims.
Ambassador attended the National Night Out event, a Vigil to mark the memory of the victims of the Gurudwara shootings, on the grounds of the Oak Creek Community Center, where around 5000 people from different communities had gathered. The Governor of Wisconsin Mr. Scott Walker was also present. Speaking against senseless acts of violence, Ambassador mentioned that the aftermath of this tragic incident of shootings in the Gurudwara  reminded us that we should unite against violence in an expression of our common humanity and in a manner that transcends nationality.

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