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SGPC to honour heroes of Oak Creek

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Amritsar, January 07, 2013
First Published: 20:36 IST(7/1/2013) | Last Updated: 20:38 IST(7/1/2013)

The two heroes of Oak Creek, the late Satwant Singh Kaleke and Lt Brian Murphy, a US police officer, will be honoured by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) here on Tuesday for displaying exemplary courage after a gunman entered the gurdwara in the US city on August 5 last year and opened fire on devotees.

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Kaleke, who was the manager of the Oak Creek gurdwara in Wisconsin state of the US, would be bestowed the honour posthumously. He fell to the gunman's bullets while trying to move the devotees to safety. Lt Murphy was grievously injured while confronting the gunman.

SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar will present a gold medal each to the families of the two heroes at a special function in the Dewan Manji Sahib hall in the Golden Temple complex. The family of the late Kaleke has confirmed its presence in the function. But there is no word as yet from the US police officer or his family.

"If Lt Murphy or his family members cannot make it, we will make arrangements for sending the medal to the US. Our decision is to honour both of them," said an SGPC official.

Makkar had, on August 10 last year, announced the decision to honour the two with gold medals.

The senseless massacre of devotees, which claimed seven lives and left 20 others injured, had evoked sharp reactions worldwide. US President Barack Obama had flayed the incident and, on his orders, the American flag flew at half-mast as a mark of respect to those who were killed in the attack.

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