As Sikhs Mourn, Nonprofit Sues Over Past Torture

     MILWAUKEE (CN) – As Milwaukee reeled this week from the shooting at a Sikh temple that left six people dead, several members of the nonprofit Sikhs for Justice sued the Chief Minister of Punjab in Federal Court, alleging “torture, [and] cruel and inhuman treatment” dating back to 1947.



     Sikhs for Justice and three people who say they were tortured in the Punjab sued Punjab’s Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, in a 30-page pro se complaint.
     They claim that Sikhs, a religious minority in Hindu-dominated India, have been “continuously deprived of many social, political and economic rights” since India became a sovereign nation in 1947.
     They seek damages for their “trauma, shock, fear and severe emotional and mental suffering.”
     They filed the complaint Wednesday, three days after a white racist shot to death six people, wounded three, and then killed himself, at a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee.
     Wade Michael Page, a former member of racist white bands, shot himself in the head after he was wounded by police, the FBI’s chief agent in Milwaukee, Teresa Carlton, said.
     Children were downstairs in Sunday school and women were making a meal in the temple’s kitchen, preparing for an 11:30 a.m. service, when Page began shooting, according to local media reports.
     The first 911 call came in at 10:26 a.m. Killed were Sita Singh, 41; Ranjit Singh, 49; Prakash Singh, 39, a priest; Paramjit Kaur, 41; Suveg Singh, 84; and Satwant Singh Kaleka, 65, the temple’s president.
     Thousands of people are expected to attend a funeral service today (Friday) at Oak Creek High School.
     The FBI said it finished processing the crime scene in Thursday. Worshipers returned to the temple where they will read their holy book, Guru Granth Sahib, nonstop from this afternoon until Sunday morning.
     The Sikh Temple of Wisconsin was established in 1997 and has 350 to 400 members in Oak Creek, a quiet suburb just south of Milwaukee, near the airport. There are an estimated 30 million Sikhs worldwide. The religion was founded in the Punjab.
     FBI Agent Carlson said the killings are being investigated as a possible act of domestic terrorism.
     In their pro se complaint, New York City-based Sikhs for Justice seek punitive damages for Sikh victims of repression in the Punjab.

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