Shocked and angered, president of Mississauga's Dixie-Derry gurdwara management, Jasjeet Singh Bhullar on Thursday demanded a ban on carrying of firearms by the citizens in United States.
He was reacting to Sunday's incident near Milwaukee, US (about 750 km from here), in which an ex-soldier barged into a gurdwara and started spraying bullets killing six Sikhs. "Let's stop all these hate crimes, seize firearms from everyone in the US and start the system of issuing arm licenses," suggested Bhullar, giving examples of India and Canada. "At least, when firearms are not easily available, one has to make an effort to plan such an incident."
Not only the gurdwara chief, the 4 lakh plus Punjabi population of Ontario province is in shock. Sikhs in Ontario are 23% to the total population.
A constable in the Peel regional police in Ontario, Amarpreet Singh Sohi, said the need was to educate people of all communities so that they know about each other's religions and traditions. "No doubt the attack is unfortunate. I also think Sikhs lack the approach to teach people about their religion," he said, adding that the gurdwaras should open awareness centres.
"We are more worried as anyone can walk into a Sikh place of worship as our religion doesn't stop anyone from entering a gurdwara," added Bhullar, who has decided to seek increased surveillance in and around the Dixie-Derry gurdwara and called an emergency meeting of the management.
Canada's member of Parliament from Brampton's Springdale constituency, Param Gill, a Sikh and Punjabi, said the cases of mistaken identity against Sikhs have increased post 9-11.
Gill reacted sharply, though, when asked whether ignorance about other religions or cultures leads to attacks: "Humanity is a universal religion, and I think every citizen should be patient enough to give space to every other individual."
Like Sohi, Gill also suggested there was need for the Sikh community to create awareness about its religion.